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Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:29 pm

A group of Illinois developers are building a new golf course and one of the largest residential developments in southeastern Wisconsin in recent years on a former strawberry farm in Kenosha County.

The development, called Strawberry Creek, will consist of a semi-private country club with an 18-hole championship golf course, 324 single-family home sites, 336 multi-family homes and 264 luxury rental apartments.

The 385-acre property is located on the far west side of the city of Kenosha, just north of Highway 50 and about 1-1/2 miles west of Interstate 94.

The Strawberry Creek development is an example of the significant

population boom occurring in the Kenosha area as urban sprawl from Chicago crosses the state line.

"We are probably the northernmost suburb of Chicago," said Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian.

The City of Kenosha’s population rose from 80,352 in 1990 to 90,352 in 2000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That rate of population growth is continuing, if not increasing. Residential developments are occurring throughout Kenosha. In the first half of this year, the city issued 171 residential building permits, compared with 94 issued in the first half of 2003.

Kenosha officials don’t expect the population growth to let up anytime soon. By the 2010 census, Kenosha might pass Green Bay as the third-largest city in the state, Antaramian said. In 2000, Green Bay’s population was 102,313, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

"We’re very proud of what’s happening in Kenosha," Antaramian said. "I don’t think the rest of the state has caught on as to what is going on here."

Strawberry Creek will be the first golf course community in the Kenosha area, said Barry Shiffman, principal of Strawberry Creek Development Group. The other partners in the development group are former Chicago Bear Jay Hildenberg and Ed Edelberg, a long-time real estate partner of Shiffman.

Hildenberg and Shiffman met through a mutual friend a few years ago. Both had done golf course developments, and they identified Kenosha as a growing market that did not have a golf course community to offer area residents.

"This is a product that hasn’t existed in the Kenosha market before," Shiffman said.

The development partners started planning the project in 1997.

"The thing that first appealed to us is the location on (Highway) 50, so close to I-94, on the way to Lake Geneva," Shiffman said. "The property turned out to be a magnificent sight for a golf course."

A creek running through the property will come into play on five holes. The par-72 course will range in length from 5,100 to 7,118 yards. It is expected to open in the summer of 2005.

The golf course will cover about 200 acres of the property. Rick Jacobson, president of Libertyville, Ill.-based Jacobson Golf Course Design, Inc., is designing the course.

"We’re going to have two drive-able par 4 holes, one on the front nine and one on the back, so that golfers can grip it and rip it if they feel the urge," Jacobson said. The sixth hole will be about 293 yards long, and the 17th hole will be about 312 yards long. Both will be par 4 holes.

About 40 percent of the residents in Strawberry Creek are expected to move there from Illinois, Shiffman said. Others will be Racine and Kenosha area residents who want to upgrade to a nicer home. Some residents will probably be families with one spouse working in the Chicago area and another working in the Milwaukee area, he said.

"There is a draw (in Kenosha) from Milwaukee," Shiffman said. "But I don’t think it’s as dramatic as from Illinois."

The semi-private golf club will offer lifetime family memberships for $18,500. The memberships are fully refundable if the membership is cancelled. Members will get unlimted use of the golf course and the club’s swimming pool, tennis courts and fitness facility. The club also will have a restaurant and bar and banquet facilites.

Non-members will pay $60 to play 18 holes during the week and $80 to play 18 holes on the weekends, Shiffman said.

The single-family homes in the development will be built on lots between 10,000 and 13,000 square feet. Warrenville, Ill.-based Neumann Homes will build 262 of the single-family homes. The other 62 single-family lots will be sold to buyers who will hire their own builders.

The costs of the Neumann Homes in Strawberry Creek will start at about $250,000. The lots for the custom-built homes will start at $140,000. Lots with golf course views will cost more.

The cost of the 336 townhouses and condominiums will be between just under $200,000 and $300,000. The prices for the luxury apartments have not been determined yet, Shiffman said.

More information about the country club membership and the homes in the development can be obtained by calling (262) 857-8400.

Another golf course residential development, in the western part of Kenosha County, will add 128 homes on 172 acres near the Nippersink Country Club. The Town of Randall approved the project recently. The developer, Illinois resident David Laurine, could not be reached for comment.

Golf course developments don’t just appeal to golfers, Shiffman said. Non-golfers are also attracted to the communities.

"I think it’s the green space and the views," Shiffman said.

July 23, 2004, Small Business Times, Milwaukee, WI

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