February 3, 2017 Antonio Altamirano

NorthShore: A World-Class Retreat

The 300 acres that stretch from Blue Star Highway to Lake Michigan on the north side of the Kalamazoo River has a residential and industrial history as well as unique natural features. In planning the NorthShore of Saugatuck, the owners wish to create a place that respects history, protects valuable natural features, and provides exceptional living experiences. The plan is to create single family homes on the water’s edge and around a newly created boat basin.

We share a passionate commitment to land conservation and sustainable living. We envision a place which will become a world-class retreat, and be nationally recognized not only for preserving the land, but enhancing the environment. We needed to be honest when evaluating the land, letting it lead us to an appropriate balance of utilization and preservation. This ethic sets the surrounding ecosystems as the most valuable asset to the project rather than traditional amenities.

The owners of NorthShore believe that this approach, “Conservation Based Development,” benefits the land, the water, wildlife and the people of the region. Strategies and covenants will protect and enhance the ecological integrity of the area, but also contribute to the quality of life in the community. We understand that for an increasing number of people, a long term commitment to environmental quality is an important factor in decisions about where to live or vacation.

With a vision to create a retreat that would maintain the integrity of the land, and a respect for the environment, the owners decided that “less could be more.” Use a limited and carefully considered amount of land, while preserving a substantial portion of the most ecologically important land. The project vision places maximum value on using development to maintain and actually repair the wholeness, intactness and integrity of the land and its natural features.

Environmental and community leaders were involved at the onset and directly influenced the analysis process to create an atmosphere of collaboration rather than contention. The community of Saugatuck has been gracious; as we leaned in to listen – they have been direct, honest and constructive.

Over the next few months, plans will be designed (and redesigned), covenant guidelines will be crafted, ecosystem management plans written, and sustainable design, building and development leading practices will be identified. But, most importantly, we will be listening. We value the various stakeholder groups and individuals who have already given of their time to make positive influence on the future of NorthShore of Saugatuck.