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RV Resort DesignThis is a guest post by Bud Surles.  The owner of Bud Surles Consulting Group, Bud has over 30 years of award winning parks, resort, and environmental management and planning experience.  He has won national awards in both the public and private sectors in the design and management of resort and public recreation areas.  Outdoor Design Group has recently partnered with Bud Surles Consulting Group to provide planning and landscape architecture services for resort projects throughout the country.

New Times Demand New Ideas

Most of us can fondly remember the housing bubble of the first decade. It seems that all you had to do was “build it and they would come.” Billions were invested in well thought out and not so well thought out housing developments, sub-divisions, and second home resort complexes. Each one seemed to build upon the success of the other. Of course, all that came to a terrifying close in 2008, and today the landscape is littered with evidence of the failure of over-development. People were millionaires one day and bankrupt the next. Individuals were secure in an ARM one day and facing foreclosure the next. Good jobs were lost and economics were drastically turned upside down across our land.

Today, many well-conceived housing developments of a few years ago lay dormant on the landscapes of lakes, rivers, mountain areas, and beaches. Lots cannot sell and developers are hanging on waiting for better times to return. However, economic indicators give little hope for that to happen within the staying power of many. But there is good news. It requires a change of vision, but there are opportunities to convert the investment in planning, roads, and infrastructure into a meaningful and profitable cash flow. It is time developers who are in the position of “hanging on” to re-think their investments and look to converting their developments into RV and Resort properties.

The development to date could lend itself to making Joint Venture arrangements very attractive to forward thinking resort developers. Most resort development is hamstrung by the high cost of the public process and infrastructure development. However, when there are opportunities to begin development on the shoulders of those who have born those costs already, real win/win opportunities exist. It is a win for the resort development because onerous costs are significantly reduced, and it is a win for the housing developer that is facing substantial losses to convert their prior investments in real estate into meaningful cash flow.

The RV market (particularly the high end RV market) is on the rebound. Hardly a month goes by that new positive news is not posted on the internet and other media. Manufacturing is up, retail is up, and use of existing units is increasing. Interestingly, part of the growth is in high-end facilities and services, which re-constituted housing development lends itself to. Now may be a very opportune time to think about converting unsuccessful housing developments into high quality resorts.

If you have invested in the development of real estate properties and want to turn that stagnant investment into a meaningful cash flow, there could not be a better time than now to explore converting your investment into resort property. This may be the perfect time to avail yourself, your investors, and your property of a bold new future. Take time to investigate the conversion. It may be the perfect idea for this new time.


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