For the second straight year, real estate firm Northland Corp. will be leasing sites to manufacturers for the Elkhart County RV Open House in northern Indiana, having locked in several confirmations immediately following the close of last year’s event.
“It was the first time that we offered locations and we weren’t sure what kind of reception we would get,” said Rob Letherman, vice president for Elkhart-based Northland. “After the show, four manufacturers wanted space for 2013.”
EverGreen Recreational Vehicles LLC, Cruiser RV/DRV Luxury Suites, Augusta RV and Livin’ Lite Recreational Vehicles LLC all reserved sites along “the gauntlet” on Executive Parkway (see map) – the primary feeder leading to Thor Industries Inc.’s massive display area at the RV/MH Hall of Fame.
Letherman reported that startup Grand Design RV is also on board, reserving an approximately 15-acre lot sandwiched between the east side of Executive Parkway and County Road 6.
“Grand Design’s space is by far the largest,” Letherman said. “EverGreen also has a nice size lot on the corner of Executive Parkway and County Road 17. Both EverGreen and Cruiser/DRV just absorbed another lot from what they rented last year.”
Initiated by Forest River Inc. in 2009, the Open House attracted approximately 4,000 dealer representatives to the area in 2012. This year’s edition, officially running Sept. 17-19, promises to be even larger as the event has matured into a mainstay on the RV trade show circuit.
“The Open House has evolved into a huge event,” Letherman said. “It’s good for the community and especially good for the manufacturers in our area.”
Last year, Northland’s site offerings were centered along CR 6, a major east-west artery on the north side of Elkhart running between the focal points for the Open House – Thor’s Hall of Fame display and Forest River’s exhibit area on the grounds of its Dynamax subsidiary.
“We decided not to push the CR 6 spots this year because it was apparent that OEMs wanted to be on or near Executive Parkway,” Letherman said, adding that lots were still available.
He said that Northland just rents “vacant land” to manufacturers. “They’re allowed to bring in tents, generators and even mulch if they want,” he said. “We get the site prepped a week in advance and they generally start bringing in units the Friday before the show.”
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Elkhart, Ind.-based real estate firm Northland Corp. announced it will be looking to lease numerous prime location sites during Elkhart County’s 5th Annual RV Open House Week, set to run Sept. 18-20 throughout the RV-building hub.
Rob Letherman, vice president of Northland, told RVBUSINESS.com that the lots – all ranging from one to two acres – will occupy pockets along CR 6, a major east-west artery on the north side of Elkhart. Importantly, the sites will run between the focal points for the event – Thor Industries Inc.’s display at the RV Hall of Fame and Forest River Inc.’s exhibit area on the grounds of its Dynamax subsidiary.
“We made a deal with Thor that we wouldn’t use property south and west of the Hall of Fame,” Letherman said, noting the area is all part of Northland’s Elkhart East development. “The sites on CR 6 are primarily on corners and will have ample land to set up a lot of RVs. We will be permitting signs, generators and tents so they can have nice display areas.”
Letherman reported that he began receiving calls in February and then “got a lot more inquiries” this month. “We’re new to this, so we had to look closely at the pockets of land and then research pricing,” Letherman said. “We’re hoping that by April 1 we can come back to the interested parties with each site mapped out in detail.”
He added, “Everything will be on a first come, first served basis. Eight manufacturers have already expressed interest, so right now they’re at the top of the list.”