Harbor Shores Overview

The Mission of Harbor Shores

The Harbor Shores Project in Michigan's Great Southwest is a proposed 530-acre mixed use real estate development that is building a Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course.  The project is a cooperative effort between The Alliance for World-Class Communities, Cornerstone Alliance, Whirlpool Foundation, the cities of Benton Harbor and St. Joseph, Benton Charter Township, Berrien County, the state of Michigan and others.

Harbor Shores’ mission is:

  • To continue the economic, environmental and social/cultural transformation that is already under way in the community.
  • To be an economic enabler for community revitalization.
  • To operate as a non-profit entity whereby funds raised by the Harbor Shores Community Redevelopment, Inc. will be reinvested in all of our communities.

For several years, the Partners in Harbor Shores have been helping the Benton Harbor/ St. Joseph area on a path to revitalization.  With a focus on diversity with inclusion and a true grass roots initiative involving over 3,500 citizens, a wide array of projects have resulted. Whether it is the Edgewater project, HOPE VI, Harbor Habitat for Humanity’s Jimmy Carter Work Project, or programs like Bridges to Digital Excellence, the Boys and Girls Club and others, lives are being changed. However, much work remains to be done in order to create a world-class community, and that is how Harbor Shores fits into this long-range community transformation effort.  Many of the community organizations responsible for these programs, projects and activities have partnered together to initiate Harbor Shores, a development that builds upon many past projects while creating additional opportunities in which area residents can engage.

The very foundation of Harbor Shores is a Community Benefits Plan that defines, directs and memorializes a commitment to bring change for all residents through literacy, workforce development, home ownership, or business assistance.

Project Overview - Description of Harbor Shores

Harbor Shores is a proposed 530 acre, mixed use development that spans parts of Benton Harbor, St. Joseph, and Benton Charter Township.  Harbor Shores is a unique opportunity to revitalize the Benton Harbor and St. Joseph community and transform the area from a quaint twin city area along Lake Michigan’s waterfront to take its place among the hottest vacation destinations in the Midwest.  Well situated in Michigan’s Great Southwest along the shores of Lake Michigan, the St. Joseph River, and the Paw Paw River, Harbor Shores has a prime location, ideal for second homes and family drive-to vacation destinations.  The site is located within a 250 mile radius of a populace of over 21 million; air service to South Bend, Chicago, and Grand Rapids; and the metropolitan markets of Chicago, Detroit, and Indianapolis.    


Project Acreage 530 acres
Residential Total ~800 units
Commercial/Retail 45,000 sq. ft.
Hotel(s) 80 to 200 rooms
Conference Center 10,000 to 20,000 s.f
Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course ~200 acres
Golf Club Structures 22,000 sq. ft.
New park and public space 83 acres


The proposed land uses include recreational, residential and commercial development, containing over 800 new residential units, marinas, two hotels and a convention center, an indoor water park, an 18-hole golf course and 83 acres of new park and public waterfront access points.

Proposed recreational developments will maximize Harbor Shores’ location near Lake Michigan by improving upon public amenities such as Jean Klock Park.  The project area surrounds the Paw Paw River and St. Joseph rivers, increasing opportunity for fishing and boating.  In 2008, Money Magazine named St. Joseph one of the best places to retire in the country, listed as one of six "terrific towns by the water".  Silver Beach in St. Joseph has been voted one of the top ten beaches to visit by Parents Magazine.  In 2005, Benton Harbor was ranked the 18th best city in the nation to live and golf by Golf Digest.  The ranking was out of 330 cities and based on four factors: access to golf, quality of the courses, value, and weather conditions.  A Jack Nicklaus Signature Design golf course will continue to foster the area’s reputation as a fantastic location for golf and help build awareness of the area as a more recognized golf and resort destination.  

Residential options will feature a variety of choices, including many that will offer water views, water front and golf course living.  HSCRI estimates 70% of the residential units will be sold as second homes, with the remaining 30% sold as primary residents.  Total construction is projected to span over 10 years beginning in 2009 and ending in 2018. HSCRI will require an upfront investment of approximately $70 million in infrastructure improvements to generate $400+ million of total development investment.

Harbor Shores is planned to serve as an enabler for community transformation by producing significant economic impact.  During construction and development (2009-2018) as well as ongoing, Harbor Shores is projected to create new jobs, generate new consumer spending and new tax revenue.

Harbor Shores is planned to restore beauty to a pristine area of Lake Michigan’s waterfront through the restoration of Jean Klock Park, the clean up of brownfields, and the preservation of natural wetlands.  To date, over 117,000 tons of solid waste, building debris, and concrete have been removed from the site, in addition to 20,000 tons of contaminated soil. 

Outdoor activity is planned to be promoted through new boat launches along the Paw Paw River, an extensive trailway system featuring walking and bicycle trails, the new golf course, as well as other amenities.