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Old 12-28-2011, 10:10 AM
 
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Looked at high-end subdivisions in South Lake County. Looked at StoneBridge Estates in Schererville, but there is no activity going on. But Lake Hills in St. John seems to be flourishing with numerous homes under construction, even in a so-called bad economy. Both developments have same-caliber homes, but why is Lake Hills expanding with new homes, while StoneBridge Estates is looking stagnant? Heard StoneBridge has new not built a new home in almost 3 years!
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Old 12-28-2011, 01:48 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ta1064 View Post
Looked at high-end subdivisions in South Lake County. Looked at StoneBridge Estates in Schererville, but there is no activity going on. But Lake Hills in St. John seems to be flourishing with numerous homes under construction, even in a so-called bad economy. Both developments have same-caliber homes, but why is Lake Hills expanding with new homes, while StoneBridge Estates is looking stagnant? Heard StoneBridge has new not built a new home in almost 3 years!
I'm hoping that one of the local realtors sees your post and can answer why there is a difference in activity, I'd love to know as well. I've driven through both again in the past few weeks and your observation is correct. There are a decent amount of new homes being built in Lake Hills, and I have a family member who has recently built in that subdivision as well. I apologize for not having any stats to back this up, but I feel like Stonebridge is a little more built out already (although there are still a few empty lots) and is much smaller, whereas there are just more open lots in Lake Hills.

Although both are upscale subdivisions, there's no question that Lake Hills is more upscale. From what I've researched, Stonebridge has more houses in the $500-600,000 range whereas in Lake Hills, many houses are well over $1 million. Stonebridge is mostly brick McMansions, whereas Lake Hills is full blown mansions. My impression is that if you put the same house in both subdivisions at the same price, most people would choose to live in Lake Hills due to the name recognition alone which is synonymous with affluence. I also know of two families that live in Stonebridge and neither have had any complaints with their houses (assuming both were built by Precision).
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Old 12-28-2011, 05:22 PM
 
Location: Northwest Indiana
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My comments on these subdivisions:
Stone Bridge Estates is being built solely by Precision, both the homes and the subdivision. Lake Hills has just about every homebuilder in Northwest Indiana building at least one home there in the single family sections (all the townhouses are being built by Olthof).

Keep in mind that subdivision developing and homebuilding are generally separate businesses. Most homebuilders are not land developers, and most land developers are not homebuilders. Precision does do both, having a homebuilding division and a land development-subdivision division. They generally don't sell their lots to other builders. So that's why their subdivisions tend to look more alike, they build all the homes within them.

Lake Hills is being developed by a firm from Illinois, I can't think of the name at the moment. They don't build homes, rather they sell their lots to homebuilders. They sold all the multi-family lots to Olthof. Olthof is another company that is both a developer and a homebuilder, but they aren't the developer of Lake Hills, just another lot buyer in this case. Olthof will buy wherever they can, they don't rely on their own subdivisions all of the time. Precision will buy outside lots as well when they need them.

Lake Hills is generally seen as more upscale. It has more variety due to many different builders. It has more open space within the subdivision and since it once was a country club, they tried to keep some of the rolling terrain and the oak trees, where is the open space is adjacent to Stone Bridge Estates to the west.

So basically, if you build in Stone Bridge, Precision is going to be the builder, they are the only choice. If you build in Lake Hills, Precision is one of the choices, you can build with anyone. Keep in mind you don't have to go with the builder that happens to own the lot you may like in Lake Hills, they can and do trade the lots. So if you like one of Precision's lots in Lake Hills but want Cook to build your home, they can generally work out a trade on lots (works better if both builders have lots in the same subdivision). Precision doesn't have to trade lots in their own developed subdivisions so you can't get a different builder in Stone Bridge.

Stone Bridge is mostly built out. There has been a few homes built since the slowdown, it would have been likely finished by now had the economy not gone down. Lake Hills looks more lively since there are more builders working there. Stone Bridge is one builder so if they aren't doing anything, it looks dead.
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Old 12-29-2011, 10:35 PM
 
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I think the primary difference is that Lake Hills is in a stricly residential area whereas Stonebridge is in an area that is literally right behind commercial activity. Personally, I LOVE Lake Hills. It is beautiful with the rolling hills and the overall architecture. Also the diversity in home styles is a plus whereas Stonebridge--while it has very nice homes--is literally "tract McMansion" homes with little variance between homes. Lake Hills is being developed more like White Oak Estates in Munster was developed in the mid 90s. Precision only developed one or two phases completely of White Oak and while they built many other homes here and there in the subdivision, there were many other home builders building too (Katona is one of them).

Also, Lake Hills is one of the only new/upscale subdivisions in NWI that is allowing more modern-style homes to be built (like mid-century modern types). The last subdivision that allowed this I think was probably Briar Ridge. Just an overall nice subdivision.

Last edited by Northwest Indiana; 12-29-2011 at 10:50 PM..
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Old 12-30-2011, 12:25 PM
 
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My sentiment is pretty much the same as everyone else here. Lake Hills is better and is by far the most upscale subdivision in northwest indiana. But both Lake Hills and StoneBridge still have that incomplete look to them when you drive through with a lot of vacant lots. Here is a video from a drive through lake hills a year or two ago.


Put ka placu - YouTube
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Old 12-30-2011, 05:04 PM
 
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Lake Hills is the most beautiful subdivision in Lake County. The Highlands of Ellendale Farm and White Hawk, both in Crown Point, are also nice, but Lake Hills stands apart with the high elevation that's similar to some California communities. I also like the different home designs. StoneBridge is too cookie cutter and overall lacks the layout offered by Lake Hills.
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Old 12-30-2011, 11:15 PM
 
1,392 posts, read 2,096,546 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quest4why View Post
My sentiment is pretty much the same as everyone else here. Lake Hills is better and is by far the most upscale subdivision in northwest indiana. But both Lake Hills and StoneBridge still have that incomplete look to them when you drive through with a lot of vacant lots. Here is a video from a drive through lake hills a year or two ago.


Put ka placu - YouTube
I agree that Lake Hills is more desirable out of the two, but saying that it is "by far the most upscale subdivision in northwest indiana" is a somewhat of a stretch. It is one of the most upscale, but not "by far"...In terms of upscale, I would place Park West (Munster), most of Briar Ridge CC (Schererville/Dyer) and Morningside (Crown Point) above Lake Hills.

I would say Lake Hills is probably one of the most upscale NON-gated subdivisions in NWI. And it helps that is is a pretty brand new subdivision as well.

Any subdivision with any Olthof-built homes would probably not be seen as "the most upscale" (even if just restricted to one area of the subdivision).

Last edited by Northwest Indiana; 12-31-2011 at 12:11 AM..
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Old 12-31-2011, 01:36 AM
 
36 posts, read 54,208 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Northwest Indiana View Post
I agree that Lake Hills is more desirable out of the two, but saying that it is "by far the most upscale subdivision in northwest indiana" is a somewhat of a stretch. It is one of the most upscale, but not "by far"...In terms of upscale, I would place Park West (Munster), most of Briar Ridge CC (Schererville/Dyer) and Morningside (Crown Point) above Lake Hills.

I would say Lake Hills is probably one of the most upscale NON-gated subdivisions in NWI. And it helps that is is a pretty brand new subdivision as well.

Any subdivision with any Olthof-built homes would probably not be seen as "the most upscale" (even if just restricted to one area of the subdivision).
So, Olthof's presence in Lake Hills, though only with townhomes, diminishes Lake Hills' position as an upscale location? lol Park West is completely custom with a minimum price point of $1M, but has an awkward location. Briar Ridge is looking very aged now; however, the gated presence and golf access keep it exclusive to a point. Still, Lake Hills' vast layout - rolling hills, winding roads and beautiful lake - keeps it competitive with other NWI communities, gated or not.
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Old 12-31-2011, 01:44 AM
 
36 posts, read 54,208 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quest4why View Post
My sentiment is pretty much the same as everyone else here. Lake Hills is better and is by far the most upscale subdivision in northwest indiana. But both Lake Hills and StoneBridge still have that incomplete look to them when you drive through with a lot of vacant lots. Here is a video from a drive through lake hills a year or two ago.


Put ka placu - YouTube

Awesome video...thanks for sharing! No other NWI subdivision has Lake Hills' bragging rights in terms of the physical layout and beauty.
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Old 12-31-2011, 08:49 AM
 
1,392 posts, read 2,096,546 times
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Originally Posted by ta1064 View Post
So, Olthof's presence in Lake Hills, though only with townhomes, diminishes Lake Hills' position as an upscale location? lol Park West is completely custom with a minimum price point of $1M, but has an awkward location. Briar Ridge is looking very aged now; however, the gated presence and golf access keep it exclusive to a point. Still, Lake Hills' vast layout - rolling hills, winding roads and beautiful lake - keeps it competitive with other NWI communities, gated or not.
Maybe I was a liiiitttllllee harsh with the Olthof comment..the townhomes they built in Lake Hills are probably their best product. Everything else they build is crap. But while Lake Hills is upscale, it is not "BY FAR the most upscale". When I think of "by far, the most upscale" i think of places that are extremely exclusive. Park West price point keeps it exclusive. While Briar Ridge is aging and has some homes that are in the $400-$500k range, the high MANDATORY association dues keep it exclusive. Even though Morningside is in Crown Point, it still has a very high price point as well. When you can buy a 1/3 acre of land in Munster for the same price as a new house ON a 1/2 acre in Saint John, that is what I call exclusive.

In terms of topography, I would place Lake Hills on the top AND second on the list. I can't think of another subdivision that comes close in that aspect....you feel like you're in the hills of The South when you drive through Lake Hills. But many of the homes in Lake Hills can also be found in other subdivisions (sans the walk-out basements) as most are semi-custom..some of the homes can also be found on online catalogs. In fact, one of my favorite homes in Lake Hills (that is actually for sale right now) came right out of the catalog. But looks great!
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