Why It Worked: Market research showed that despite its equal distance from Chicago and Milwaukee (40 miles), Zion was a relatively untapped market for new-home construction. A land plan that includes walking paths, gazebos, and open green space is unique to the area.

  • Buyers can choose from 11 floor plans, ranging from ranch to split-level to two-story designs. Homes are on fully sodded sites and come standard with attached two-car garages and full basements.
  • Nearby family-friendly amenities include Lake Michigan beaches, golf courses, public parks, and Gurnee Mills, one of the largest outlet malls in the United States.
  • Professionally decorated models—something the competition doesn't offer—helped set the community apart.
  • Project Credits

    Project: Shepherds Crossing, Zion, Ill.; Sales started: January 2004; Sales through January 2005: 106; Units planned: 239; Price: $217,990 to $261,990; Unit size: 1,575 to 2,467 square feet; Builder/Developer/Land planner: Deer Point Homes, Wauconda, Ill.; Architects: Alberts Associates, Long Grove, Ill., and Sinsuk Kang, Lake Villa, Ill.; Landscape architect: Acres Group, Wauconda; Interior designer: Laura O'Conner Design, East Dundee, Ill.

    Learn more about markets featured in this article: Chicago, IL.