Reservations roll in for LochenHeath

TRAVERSE CITY – Early this spring you could hear the roar of large earth-movers as they prepared LochenHeath land for the first phase of its upscale gated golf community.

Located on 645 acres just north of the Grand Traverse Resort, LochenHeath’s focal point is a 7,049-yard, par 71 golf course designed by Steve Smyers, one of the country’s leading golf course architects.

Smyers is widely viewed as an architect who is helping lead the way back to more thoughtful, strategic golf designs. His courses regularly reflect the natural and classic designs found in some of the nation’s greatest courses built between World War I and II, such as courses designed by Alister Mackenzie. His firm has built 35 golf courses and has several of his designs ranked in America’s Top 100 Golf Courses by Golf Digest and Golfweek magazines.

LochenHeath not only offers spectacular views of one of Michigan’s most scenic bodies of water, East Grand Traverse Bay, but also represents an opportunity to obtain one of the 35 residential sites launched in the first phase of the project. Also available are memberships in the private golf club, limited to property owners, for $30,000.

LochenHeath has received 55 reservations for the first 35 sites. The launch weekend, which will assign the reservations to the sites for this phase, was scheduled for June 3 and 4. It’s a first-come, first-selection method and those reservations that do not obtain a site in the first phase will have the priority selection for the second phase.

The project is being developed by LochenHeath Land Co., LLC, a joint venture between Deepwater LLC, a Michigan company, and Pinnacle Development Group, an Arizona company that has already developed two of the Southwest’s notable private residential and golf communities.

According to Dr. Marc Krakow, one of the principles in Deepwater LLC, the Pinnacle Group was the entity that knew how to develop out their initial idea.

“Because of its convenient location and scenic beauty, we believe LochenHeath is destined to become one of the Midwest’s most talked about private clubs and communities,” John Lang, president of Pinnacle Development Group, pointed out.

Complementing the golf course, Lang estimates there will be from 360 to 370 individual and condominium sites as they move through the phase process. The residential mix, single-family lakeside villas as well as custom home sites, range from three quarters of an acre to more than an acre. All of the homes, Lang said, will be custom designed and built, subject to strict design guidelines and architectural controls that will maintain the development’s commitment to high quality. Lot prices are expected to range from $175,000 to more than $2 million.

The land

The land from the original development belonged to Jim and Barb Maitland. It was bought in 1920 by Jim Maitland’s grandfather. According to Maitland, he owned a florist shop in Chicago and used 40 areas of the land to grow peonies for his business. “One plot of the peonies still remain to this day and can be seen in bloom during June by golfers on the course,” Maitland said.

Eventually, the land became know as Ellendale Farms. Cherry trees, both tart and sweet, were planted. A dairy herd was added and then frying chickens, which were sold around Michigan. In the 1950s the chicken sales were fazed out.

In the late 1990s, Jim and Barb Maitland decided to develop the land, agreeing to a joint venture, Deepwater LLC, with Dr. Marc Krakow from Cleveland, Ohio, who summered on Elk Lake and was looking for investment property in the area. Encouraged by the Maitland sons’ enthusiasm for golf, a golf course and residential development was designed with Smyers as the course architect. The course opened for play in 2001 as a semi-private golf course with 36 founding members, intended to ultimately be private.

Prior to Pinnacle Development Group coming on board, Deepwater LLC encompassed only the Maitland’s 277.5 acres. The Pinnacle Group joined Deepwater LLC in 2004, becoming LochenHeath Land Co., LLC, and 368 acres to the south of the initial project was purchased. It was known as the Veliquette piece, but according to Gene Veliquette, the land was originally the Selkirk, Plucker and Stiffler farms and had been purchased by Paul Nine for the Grand Traverse Resort.

The land was passed down with the subsequent owners of the resort and sold to the Veliquettes in 2000, returning the land to a cherry farm. When developed by LochenHeath Land Co., this additional piece of land will have over 50 percent in open space with the residential sites surrounding small man-made lakes.

During the initial phase of the project, roads as well as two of the golf course holes are being repositioned and changed. A temporary golf clubhouse is also underway, which will be replaced by the planned 25,000 sq. ft. permanent clubhouse, designed by MAI Architects of Englewood, Colo.

Designed by the same architect, the gated guardhouse is scheduled to be finished by the first of July. And a marketing center promoting LochenHeath should be open soon near the main gate.

“It’s much more than just a piece of property, the client is buying a lifestyle,” Dave Johnson, Director of Sales, explained. BN