Heritage Harbor is well-researched, well-positioned and ready to accelerate development as the market continues to strengthen
The resort development team has protected and strengthened the overall Heritage Harbor resort brand while creating the Starved Rock Country regional branding premise that will optimize development opportunities. The master-planned resort offers valuable flexibility for future development which will allow Heritage Harbor to optimize the development strategy for every parcel within the resort.
The RCLCO’s advisory report indicates that “owners of and investors in vacation residential properties should begin to experience stronger demand in the near term. Resort developments should ensure that residential offerings, amenities, and other programs are up and running and aligned with what today’s target market demands, and speed to market is likely now of the essence for projects that are proposed or in early stages of development.”
The comprehensive Economics Research Associates (ERA) market study commissioned for Heritage Harbor still guides the marketing and product development strategy
The study identifies the target markets and preferred market positioning of the resort development. The following groups remain the most receptive demographic groups for Heritage Harbor:
Our Consumer Survey identified the trend that many Gen X respondents don’t see their resort property as a place for vacation but rather “an extension of their regular lives, a second home where they are connected to a community of like-minded friends and can provide their kids an alternative experience to their urban or suburban neighborhoods.”
The overall buying preferences for second home prospects has also been studied recently by Kelsey & Norden. Their survey looked at the most desired amenities for second home buyers. Heritage Harbor is currently capable of delivering a majority of those amenities with the capability to add more.
Building upon the initial market research developed by ERA and utilizing research focused specifically on resort development and buyer preferences, Heritage Harbor has continued to develop products and amenities to meet this pending demand. See video testimonials of current Heritage Harbor homeowners
We are very well-positioned to optimize this development opportunity
Some of the significant data points include:
The community is located less than ninety minutes from downtown Chicago, Rockford, Bloomington, and Peoria, and only two hours from Champaign-Urbana. The Starved Rock Country area is recognized and well-regarded as a “getaway” location for people in Illinois and throughout the Midwest. Most of the potential visitors for our resort are already familiar with Starved Rock and most adults in northern and central Illinois have fond memories of the area. The attractive setting and natural amenities of the area now attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. The most visited tourist attraction in the area is Starved Rock State Park. With an annual attendance of 2.5 million, it is one of Illinois’ top tourism destinations, known for its appealing topography, scenic sandstone bluffs, and thriving bald eagle habitat along the Illinois River. The confluence of the Fox and Illinois Rivers is in downtown Ottawa, just a few miles from Heritage Harbor. In addition, Matthiessen State Park, Buffalo Rock State Park, the Vermillion River (highly ranked for white water activities), and the Fox River (known for canoeing), along with many beautiful country roads and villages add to the area’s appeal. The combination of recreational amenities and accessibility make Ottawa an ideal location for a premier resort community.
Chicago metro residents are uniquely deprived and in short supply of easy-to-access resort and second home opportunities
Being blocked by Lake Michigan to the east, forced through a bottleneck to get to attractions in western Michigan, and difficult access to popular, overcrowded destinations in Wisconsin limits the choices for Chicagoland residents. We believe that accessibility drives value, especially in these times of limited vacation days, and, in the case of retirees, the ability to stay in close proximity to friends, family, and sometimes complex healthcare requirements. The much less congested corridors of travel leading to Ottawa, the close proximity of I-80 and I-39, and the calm of Starved Rock Country (even during the peak season) make Heritage Harbor a very attractive offering for tourists, boaters, second home buyers, and retirees.For developers, land development costs are lower in this area than in most of the traditional destinations in Wisconsin and southwestern Michigan. For buyers, Heritage Harbor presents an opportunity to be involved in the initial stages of an exciting investment in the Midwest.
Boating and water-related activities are expected to be the dominant activities for second home owners
An assessment of boating lifestyle suggests the following:
A primary feature of the Heritage Harbor development is its direct access to a variety of water destinations (along the riverfront) and water activities (including
waterskiing, wakeboarding, tubing, and cruising) that the area and Heritage Harbor affords—with the intent to create a lifestyle that is found in few places in the Midwest. Outdoor enthusiasts will appreciate the area’s strength in hunting and fishing and other recreational opportunities like local golf courses and auto racing.
Ottawa is located in the Illinois Valley area southwest of metropolitan Chicago. The area is also known as the I & M Canal Corridor for the historic area that parallels the river. The river and its centuries of commerce have left a legacy of river towns including Morris, Seneca, Marseilles, Ottawa, Utica, LaSalle, and Peru. Interstate 80, running several miles north of the river towns, is a coast-to-coast highway from New York City to the San Francisco Bay area. It has been equally—and possibly more—important to recent economic development for the river towns. Trucks carrying commodities, truck stops, traveler services, and distribution centers have kept the local economies alive. Some, but certainly not all, of the river towns have turned back to their original asset, the river, and are looking at it as the ticket to a new industry—tourism. Ottawa, the community where Heritage Harbor is built, is one of the towns that has aggressively embraced tourism as a part of its economic future. Heritage Harbor is uniquely positioned to capitalize on this tourism focus in the Ottawa market.