I have been thinking about this for several years.
When I was traveling all over the northern Mid-West and the Atlantic coast looking at real estate development, I learned something. When most of we southern domiciled people think of retirement and resort settlements, we think of sand, palm trees, water to look at, drinks with umbrellas in them, and very warm weather.
Some of our northern senior citizens think a little differently. They often think of moving a little closer to the kids, warmer than 15 degrees below zero in January, throwing away their snow blower, and settle for a few days during Winter where they can get outside and enjoy golf, boating, and visiting with friends wearing only a light jacket. Few know it, but in the upper Mid-west and the Northeast Atlantic states, the people may go three months and never see the sun.
I used to travel from Philadelphia to Manahauken, N.J. by car once a month. I drove over an area an area called the "Pine Barrens." We generally think of New Jersey as wall to wall asphalt. It isn't. There are some fine looking farms in South Jersey and the wilderness area of "Pine Barrens." Atlantic City sits southeast of the Pine Barrens.
I made this trip for years, once a month. One time, I was sleepily driving along the road, when I noticed dirt moving equipment in the Pine Barrens. I wondered what on earth they were getting ready to do out in the middle of nowhere. Of course, I didn't learn anything on that trip. Subsequent trips proved the activity out to be a real estate development.......out in the middle of nowhere. I had to find out. I started asking questions. What I learned was that it was to be a retirement village. That flew in the face of everything I had been taught. All this time, I thought it was in the middle of nowhere. It wasn't. It was in the middle of a fine pine forest with lots of wildlife, including bear. It was close to excellent bass fishing. Forty miles away was the Atlantic Ocean with plenty of sport fishing. And, 40 miles the other way was Philadelphia, where their kids lived and worked. The people who bought there were from Maine, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania. and New York. The winter weather was slightly better, the kids were closer, and it was fun to live in the woods. The last time I made this trip, there were several subdivisions, all catering to the same market. I learned of a brand new market. Who would have ever thought of several retirement villages in the middle of New Jersey? I certainly hadn't. Hell, I was from Texas.
Then, 42 years ago, I moved to Rowlett from East Texas. Rowlett was a burg. There were 1500 people, probably counting dogs and cats. The lake was here and had been for a couple of years, but it really wasn't used very much. For that matter, it still isn't. About 20-30 years ago, Rowlett began to grow in material amounts. It began to become a real town. With 27 miles of shoreline, I began to think in terms of a good area for a retirement village. Nothing happened. Then we grew some more. We began to be a legitimate suburb of Dallas. Still, nothing happened on our lakefronts. For all practical matters, we really had no lake, or we weren't developing a valuable asset. We stared at it for 40 years. It seemed like no one had any imagination, or didn't have any money.
Then four things happened:
1. A toll road came right thru town.
2. We got a DART terminal station.
3. The Texas economy took off like a shot.
4. Bayside was born.
Dallas was (and is) growing by leaps and bounds. The "spill over" from Dallas was creating demand for homes and businesses in Rowlett. Rowlett's hospital and medical offices were growing by extraordinary amounts.
Now, lets look at Rowlett again.
The Dallas market is hiring people as fast as they can get out of school.....from all over the country. New hires are moving to Dallas/Ft. Worth in huge amounts and leaving their families behind, as many of us have done. Bayside is going to provide some pretty snazzy homes, and places to live. The lakefront will definitely change around Bayside, including sandy beaches and clear water. There still are 23,000 acres of lake surrounding Bayview. You can get to anywhere in the metroplex via Interstate 30, DART, or the toll road. If you approach Rowlett from the south on the toll road, it looks like you're driving over the Intercoastal Waterway to an off shore island. Everything you see is undeveloped Rowlett.
So, maybe Rowlett isn't setting on the Gulf coast down near Port O'Conner, but it's got some good "stand ins." The kids are close by working in Dallas/Ft Worth. Medical care facilities are superb, and growing. Bayview will speak for itself, and its a lot warmer here than Kansas City. As a resort site, Rowlett's market isn't residents of Dallas./Ft. Worth. Rowlett's market is St. Louis, Chicago, Kansas City, Omaha, and Wichita, Kansas.
Did I say it's close to where the kids work?
I, for one, would like to live in a resort area. I prefer Lake Ray Hubbard over the Pine Barrens of New Jersey.
It's called branding. We need to get off our unimaginative butts and go get it.
If you doubt any of the above, take an afternoon and drive down to Granbury. They were the same size as Rowlett, and all they had was a lake coursing through it. Go look at their lakefront, now. You'll want to throw rocks at our lakefront development.