Stillwater Rendering

Ecumen Planning a New Zvago Co-op Development in Stillwater

By Ben Taylor

Zvago Stillwater, a cooperative housing development near downtown Stillwater for ages 62+, is now pre-selling units, and an informational meeting with the community and prospective buyers will be held at Oak Glen Golf Course August 15 at 11 a.m.

The 60-unit Zvago Stillwater building will be constructed near Brick Street South and Olive Street West, adjacent to Our Savior’s Lutheran Church. It is being developed by OneTwoOne Development, a partnership between Ecumen, a nonprofit provider of senior housing and services, and Lifestyle Communities, a Bloomington-based development company. The name and concept for Zvago is based on the Italian word for fun, leisure and recreation.

“Zvago Stillwater is designed for those who want a healthy, active, urban lifestyle,” said Dena Meyer, Ecumen Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Client Relations. “Like all Zvago communities, it will offer beautiful spaces and the benefits of ownership without the hassle of maintenance. Zvago communities are in attractive locations that take full advantage of surrounding walkable amenity-rich areas including shopping, dining entertainment, recreation and health services.”

Meyer said there is a pent-up demand from active empty-nesters who are looking for this type of owner-occupied housing in the East Metro. Residences range from 1,138 square feet (one bedroom plus den) to 1,949 square feet (two bedroom plus den). Initial share payments are estimated at $121,164 to $211,011 with correlating monthly member fees. Buyers have the option of paying higher equity share payments with corresponding lower monthly member fees.

Building financing requires that 60 per cent of units be pre-sold before construction can start – a goal Meyer said should be easily met by Spring of 2019 when construction is expected to begin. Occupancy would be about a year later.

Currently, there are three Zvago co-ops in various stages of development. Zvago St. Anthony Park in downtown St. Anthony Park in St. Paul and Zvago Central Village in Apple Valley are now under construction, and plans are underway to build a Zvago co-op on Lake Superior in Duluth. Zvago Glen Lake on the north shore of Glen Lake in Minnetonka has been open since April 2017.

For more information call 952-206-2006 or visit the Zvago website at

Cooperatives are communities where residents buy shares of the corporation that owns the building — an ownership structure that offers tax advantages similar to traditional home ownership, along with lower costs of entry than many condominiums or townhomes. A housing cooperative forms when people come together to own and control the building where they live. They pay a monthly amount to cover operating expenses. The cooperative owns the building, land and any common areas, and the members buy shares in the cooperative corporation.

Zvago Stillwater is a limited equity cooperative in which initial buyers typically choose among several equity options which determine monthly payment as well as return when shares are sold.  With a limited equity co-op model, owners are relieved of the need to secure their own individual financing for their new home.  Limited equity cooperatives provide for a steady annual growth of members’ equity at a fixed rate of return on the initial share payment.  This ensures that homes remain affordable and marketable long-term.