Resort Expected To Have Economic Impact

August 30, 2007
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GRAND RAPIDS — There is a lot of work ahead for Grand Rapids area builders as the Tullymore Golf Club in Stanwood continues its transformation into a residential resort community that its developers say will be “unlike any other in the Midwest.”

The 850-acre development will surround Tullymore golf course with more than 340 home sites, as well as luxury condominiums. Fully furnished homes will also be available for deeded quarter fractional home ownership, according to the developer, Mecosta LLC. Mecosta is one of the first developers in Michigan to offer fractional home ownership.

Mecosta is owned by Peter Ministrelli and his nephews Ronald, Richard and Robert Marino. Ministrelli is a Grand Rapids native and California developer who has built more than 500 custom homes that surround golf course properties in Palm Springs, Palm Desert, Rancho Mirage and La Quinta, Calif. When he first started building residential resort communities 20 years ago, the average home built at those resorts was in the $500,000 range. Now, new homes going up around golf courses range from $3 million to $5 million, he said.

Mecosta began construction on The Villages at Tullymore this spring. Tullymore is the sister course to the St. Ives golf course. Ministrelli said Mecosta plans to build about 60 condo units and 194 home sites initially. Roads are paved for work to begin on about 45 lots, said Richard Marino, and 14 lots are already reserved. He said in 60 to 90 days, all the roads should be in place for 194 lots. Home sites are priced from $48,500, and wooded, water-side, fairway and nature reserve settings are available.

The company will break ground on the first home sites in a month and the first condos and fractionals in about three months. The first homes will be specs, and the company plans to have a model complex, Ministrelli said. Home sizes will vary from a minimum of 1,800 square feet up to 5,000 square feet, depending on what the lot size can accommodate and what the buyer wants. Condos will range from about 1,800 to 2,700 square feet and fractional homes will probably be in the 2,200- to 2,600-square-foot range. He said there will likely be about a dozen fractional homes.

“Fractional ownership is a little different from a timeshare,” Marino noted. “With fractional ownership, the buyer owns the deed on the property. We have not at this time determined what types of fractionals they’re going to be — whether they’re going to be 12 shares or quarter-shares, but you will have the ability to buy as many fractional shares as you want, whether it’s a quarter or a half share.” 

The company is reserving a certain portion of the site to expand either the fractionals, condos or single-family homes, depending on which kind of unit is in greater demand, he said. Eventually, when The Villages at Tullymore is completely built out, it will have a mix of about 600 homes, condos and fractionals, he said. Bob Marino said recreational facilities are in the planning stages and will include a spa and a pool.

Ministrelli said buyers can work with Mecosta’s contractor or use their own contractor. However, external construction materials and architectural elements have to be approved by the developer’s architectural committee beforehand.

The week of Oct. 20, Mecosta will break ground on a 13,000-square-foot clubhouse next to a 13-acre lake. The payroll for the clubhouse will run about $500,000 a year, and the clubhouse will spend about $750,000 a year on food, beverages and other products for the resort that will be purchased from Grand Rapids merchants, said Richard Marino. The clubhouse alone will boost economic growth in the state by $7 million annually, he noted. 

The partners held a builders’ open house Aug. 8 to give interested and qualified builders a project overview. Ministrelli said the majority of builders will be from the Grand Rapids area, and they’ll use their own suppliers and trades people.

Construction of the homes, condos, fractionals and the clubhouse will require the help of many different industry tradesmen over the next 18 months and continuing over the seven years of the project. According to Mecosta, the project will generate about 20 temporary full-time jobs for the duration of the build-out, 37 temporary full-time jobs in subcontracting work, and 150 temporary full-time industry trade jobs over that period.

The Villages at Tullymore will also generate permanent jobs in landscaping, home services, maintenance, food services and hospitality, he pointed out. According to his calculations, the project will create 35 new jobs in the food and beverage area, 20 jobs in hospitality, five positions in management, 20 jobs in landscaping and maintenance, 10 new sales positions, 15 jobs in the pool area, and another 10 jobs for clubhouse staff. Mecosta plans to begin staffing the resort next summer.

Ronald Marino pointed out that The Villages at Tullymore will offer more than just golf; it will offer cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, ice fishing and horseback riding. Tullymore also is within 45 minutes of shopping malls and casinos. Depending on the success of the Villages and the number of residents that move into the area, Mecosta has long-term plans for recreational facilities that include a spa, fitness center, Olympic pool, tennis and basketball courts, and snowboarding and ice-skating areas.

“Those are all planned but they won’t come to fruition until we actually have people living out there who want access to those kinds of facilities,” Ministrelli said.

“It will be similar to a social club.”

Mecosta will initially inject about $30 million into the Grand Rapids area economy. Ministrelli estimates that with all of the builders involved, the total value of the investment in The Villages at Tullymore will be about $300 million.

A membership at Tullymore includes membership at St. Ives. There are 40 full members from the Grand Rapids area currently. St. Ives opened in 1995, and Tullymore opened in 2001. Both courses were designed by awarding-winning architects and are ranked among the top 15 public courses in the U.S. by Golf Digest.    

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