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Old January 20th, 2005, 02:15 PM   #1
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Northwest Indiana Condos/Marina

posted originally in Midwest forum

City, developers working on marina details
PORTAGE: Plans progress for 66-acre marina, residential development

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This story ran on nwitimes.com on Wednesday, January 19, 2005 12:49 AM CST

PORTAGE | The devil may be in the details, but getting the big picture together for what may be one of the city's largest developments can be time-consuming.

The Development Review Committee sat down with Brant Companies President Bill Brant and his representatives for nearly two hours Tuesday morning to review the concept for what Brant has renamed Marina Shores at Dune Harbor.

The private development will be on 66 acres along the Burns Waterway at what is now Lefty's Coho Landing. Plans call for a marina basin that will eventually support 302 boating slips, 369 condominiums and a mix of 71 cottage- and estate-style homes.

"We'd like to start construction in early spring, April or May. As soon as the infrastructure is in, we want to start on the single-family, multifamily development and the marina construction will follow after that," Brant told the committee.

Brant said since announcing his plans for the gated community development last month, he has received nothing but positive feedback and questions about obtaining home lots and boat slips inside the community.

The project, estimated to be a $20 million development, is geared to attract buyers from Chicago and Northwest Indiana.

The development first will have to appear before nearly every city board and commission for approval, however. Developers already received approval from the Port Authority last week and appeared in front of the Water Reclamation Board, which tabled the issue.

Next week developers will go to the Board of Public Works seeking an excavation permit to begin preliminary work on the site. They also have to seek variances from the Board of Zoning Appeals, including a building height variance for proposed four-story, 16-unit condominium buildings. Code only allows for three-story structures in marina/waterway zones.

Petitioning the city as a planned unit development, developers will present the preliminary development plan to the Plan Commission Feb. 7. The commission will hold a public hearing that night on a secondary issue, overlaying a PUD in the marina/waterway zone.

The preliminary development plan will be forwarded to the City Council in March and then back to the Plan Commission for final approval in April, said A.J. Monroe, director of community development, adding it is an ambitious, but achievable schedule for development of the project.

"This is the easiest planned unit development that's come in to the city for approval, because they've done their homework. They have plans. They've put a lot of thought into it," Monroe said.
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Old January 20th, 2005, 02:16 PM   #2
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Here is Portage's location, about 27 miles southeast of the Loop. The marina planned for the Burns waterway, just south of the Lakeshore.

a pic of Burns waterway (the condos/marina) will be built at bottom left (lefty's Landing)

the opening to the lake

another article

Development will float region's boat

Portage casino site to become marina community

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This story ran on nwitimes.com on Saturday, December 18, 2004 11:53 PM CST


Gold Coast-style marina living will be sailing into Northwest Indiana in 2005.

Brant Companies, of Griffith, plans to develop a gated marina community called Dune Harbor off the Portage-Burns Waterway. It will have more than 300 docks, a yacht club, condominiums and homes.

"Our development here, along with Ameriplex, will change the image of Portage, and Porter County, and Northwest Indiana," said Bill Brant, president of the Brant Companies.

The development will center on a 17-acre basin which will be just west of the waterway and south of U.S. 12.

Brant's plans represent a complete about-face from the ambitious plans put forth a decade ago by the city of Portage and Circus Circus for a casino boat and resort at the same site.

Brant's development will be private, residential, and will not have gambling, except for maybe a few sporting bets among boaters at the yacht club.

The Circus Circus casino was sunk by a county-wide gambling referendum, though voters in the city of Portage favored it.

"I'm glad to see someone will finally be taking advantage of our location and proximity to the lake," said Portage Mayor Doug Olson on Friday. "It has been a long time in coming."

The entrance to the Dune Harbor marina will be directly across from the Portage Public Marina, which sits on the east bank of the waterway.

The two marinas won't compete, because Portage's marina is public and Dune Harbor's will be for residents and members only, according to Jeff Brant, a vice president for Brant Companies.

He said the two marinas, along with the Ameriplex office/industrial park to the southeast, will create the density needed to start getting some first-class restaurants and stores in the area.

"Lake Michigan is our biggest asset in Northwest Indiana, but people just haven't built on it," Brant said. "People say all you can do is make steel there."

He estimates at least 50 percent of buyers will be from Chicago, many of them purchasing second homes.

Brant Companies is currently securing financing for the project. When completed, it will represent a $20 million investment, according to Bill Brant. Total build-out once all homes are in will be near $100 million.

Homes will include single-family cottages and estate homes. There also will be town homes and condominiums. The Ogden Dunes South Shore stop is just across U.S. 12.

A 60-acre stretch of duneland will sit between the development and the lake. That land was recently purchased by Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and will be public space.

It is one of the first links in the Marquette Greenway envisioned by Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-Ind. The congressman helped secure funds for the park purchase.

Dune Harbor will replace Lefty's Coho Landing, the first marina on the waterway when it was built more than 35 years ago by Robert "Lefty" Frum Sr.

Frum, 80, and son Robert "Tug" Frum Jr. say they have plans to move their business farther south on the waterway.

That business consists of boats in storage -- some apparently for many years -- about 40 boat slips, an office building and metal-sided storage building, as well as the trailer where Frum Sr. lives.

The business also includes four parrots, one of which sips hot coffee and says "I love you" when Tug prompts him.

"Lefty's won't be out of business," Frum Jr. said. "We'll still be in business. We've been here more than 36 years and plan to stay around."

Dune Harbor Trust, formed by the Brant family to undertake the development, closed its purchase of the 63 acres on Tuesday from Abonmarche Group of Benton Harbor, Mich. Abonmarche had bought the land several years ago from Frum Sr.

Brant and Frum Sr. said all necessary Army Corps of Engineers and Indiana Department of Natural Resource permits have been secured for the project. Brant must still get excavating permits and other approvals from the Portage Planning Commission.
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Old January 20th, 2005, 10:38 PM   #3
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Sounds like a cool idea. Our Great Lake is vastley underutilized in terms of recreational boating IMO. It's near the South Shore station, so people can commute to Chicago, but I really hate the gated community idea. It sounds like it will have some moderate density, but the whole gated thing, means there will be no mixed use and no pedestrain friendlyness. It will be interesting to see how well expensive homes sell when placed across the street from a large opperating steel mill.
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Old January 21st, 2005, 03:01 AM   #4
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In order to utilized the indiana southshore's proximity to the lake for residential purposes the industry has got to go
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Old January 21st, 2005, 04:11 AM   #5
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yeah, but without that industry, 1/2 of my family would not have a job.
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Old January 21st, 2005, 06:19 AM   #6
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Indiana lakeshore is the last great stretch of heavy manufacturing in the area. Getting rid of it = big mistake.
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Old January 21st, 2005, 06:45 AM   #7
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yeah, after all, someone has to make the steel that makes the skyscrapers. I spent 2 years down in the Dunes and one of the things I miss about it is the respect for manufacturing there. Most people who grew up in the burbs can't appreciate the coolness of massive factories. Plus, the industry in the Region is slowly but surely cleaning up its act.

Also, there is a certain yin'yang feeling to the Region (nw Ind). The picture of the waterway highlights that perfectly; industry on one side, duneland on the other. DuPage county is office parks with overfertilized over manicured grounds. The Region is huge factories surrounded by wild nature. I choose the latter.
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Old January 21st, 2005, 06:49 AM   #8
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it is certainly an interesting area to drive through. I know a lot of people who work in and with those factories and mills, and have been over there on several occaisions.
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