Chesterton Tribune

Sand Creek siblings invest in community, lots for sale again

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A big chunk of the Estates of Sand Creek—enmeshed for the last couple of years in foreclosure proceedings and its ownership unclear—is back on the market.

That’s the good news.

This is the better news: the new owners of the property—consisting of more than 60 lots in phases IV, V, and VII—are themselves Sand Creek residents who are committed to putting the Estates into play again as the premier community in Chesterton.

The principals: siblings Matthew Ray, Dawn Ray, and Becky Trinks, along with their parents, Terry and Jan Ray. “The whole family is 100 percent invested,” Dawn Ray says.

Doing business as Blueprint Realty Partners, the Rays and Trinks made their purchase of the lots in September 2010, after Matthew Ray, in April, began what should have been the simple process of buying a lot in the Estates. “I started leasing a home here nine months ago but I wanted a lot of my own,” he says. “The problem is that the properties weren’t actively on the market. They hadn’t been for three years really. People didn’t know who to go to, where they could buy the land.”

It took him more than a month to trace the greater portion of the properties, through the FDIC, to a servicer in Florida.

“It was so tangled,” Trinks says. “The lots were stagnant for way too long.”

They aren’t any more.

The siblings have three basic points to make about their venture.

First, the lots are available. For a complete listing with prices, maps, profiles, and other information, go to “The response from the Sand Creek residents has been great,” Dawn Ray says. “People they know and trust are making the right moves for the community. We’re very much focused on moving forward and driving value.”

Second, the prices of the lots have been “adjusted,” some have been reduced by as much as 40 percent, and they’re all “now aligned with the economy.” A number of the lots had previously been going for as high as $300,000, Matthew Ray notes, just “for dirt.”

“Sand Creek has the air of being untouchable for people,” Trinks says. “But we’re gong to do everything we can to get development going. We’re going to be reasonable. We’re working with builders. We’re providing financing. We’ll be creative if people have homes they can’t get sold. We have to get development back to this community and we’ll do everything we can.”

Third, the Rays and Trinks are all Porter County natives who grew up in Portage. “We think this is the best place to live in Northwest Indiana,” Matthew Ray says. “That’s what separates us. We all live here.”

“We know the ins and outs of the area,” Dawn Ray adds. “We all left and came back. I think that’s a fairly important point. It’s not the case that somebody bought this property and doesn’t even live here, that somebody bought it and doesn’t even live in the state.”

So far, the Rays have been marketing the property “through word of mouth and networking,” Matthew Ray says. “We’re trying to take a methodical approach, package it in the right manner.”

Naturally, though, they’ll be targeting buyers across the state line. “Chicago will be a big market with the tax increase in Illinois,” he says.

And the healthcare corridor rapidly taking shape in Duneland—anchored on the north by St. Anthony’s 24-hour emergency department on Indian Boundary Road, on the south by Porter hospital’s new facility at Ind. 49 and U.S. Highway 6—is also likely to make the Estates of Sand Creek a residential center of gravity for the influx of medical professionals and entrepreneurs.

Trinks emphasizes that “value-oriented pricing” is only one prong of their business plan.

“We can finance buyers. Banks don’t want to lend on land right now. It’s very, very hard to get a land loan. And we have very good relationships with premier builders. We’re going to bring some very interesting custom builders to the table.”

Call it, in short, a fresh start for the Estates of Sand Creek. “The three of us do live here,” Matthew Ray says.

“Obviously it’s a business and we want it to be a profitable venture. But one of our primary objectives is maintaining the value of this community. Building homes increases the assessment and improves the quality of life for everyone.”



Posted 2/8/2011