Luxury on the lake: Waterwood Resort looks to bring various upscale living experiences to Vermilion

Spend only a few minutes looking at the renderings for the planned Waterwood Resort in Vermilion and it becomes easy to lose yourself in thoughts of a life there.

The quartz countertops and waterfall islands.

The inviting communal pool, surrounded by lots of comfortable-looking outdoor furniture.

And, of course, the Lake Erie views from living rooms, balconies and rooftop decks. 

“There are so few lakefront living opportunities in Northeast Ohio in general available, let alone new construction, so this is a very special opportunity,” says Kim Crane, the Rocky River-based real estate agent for Howard Hanna handling the sales of Waterwood’s townhomes and condominiums, during a recent phone interview. “There’s just so little lake frontage available – this is a really nice community that’s coming together.

A collaboration that also includes developer DiGeronimo Companies, headquartered in Independence, and AoDK, a Lakewood-based architecture firm, Waterwood is being developed around the mansion formerly owned by Donald Brown, inventor of the drop ceiling, who died in 2010. The home, built in 1991, will transition into serving as the hub of the development, complete with a restaurant and workout area for residents and a six-suite inn for guests, the latter helping to explain the use of “Resort” in the project’s name. 

The first phase of the development, Crane says, consists of 26 townhouses and 30 condos.

AODK Architecture's rendering of a townhouse patio (Courtesy of the Kim Crane Real Estate Group)“There are additional phases for down the road – other products on the same property,” Crane says. 

However, she says, the best views will belong to those who buy from this first batch. Take the townhouses, for example. The first row – “Row A,” as Crane calls it – is separated from Lake Erie only by a bit of grass, the walking path that goes along the lake and the stones that sit between the path and the water.

Row B sits behind Row A, but it’s slightly elevated, and those units are the versions with the rooftop decks. Also, the first of the two condo buildings in this initial phase sits closer to the water than does the second.

And luxury is to be expected inside the units, thanks to “high-end” finishes.

“There are three different levels, but the base alone is very nice,” Crane says.

The condos and townhouses listed on her Howard Hanna site start at $650,000 and can go as high as about $1.5 million.

Buyers also have an option to lease a boat slip in the small on-site marina, which she says will be owned by the developer and managed by the homeowners association.

“Marinas are in huge demand, as well, as there are not enough boat slips along Lake Erie these days,” Crane says. “Right now, we have some (available) because not everyone who commits to the project has a boat.”

AODK Architecture's rendering of a rooftop patio at a Waterwood Resort property (Courtesy of the Kim Crane Real Estate Group)Although construction hadn’t started at the time of this conversation, Crane says things have been progressing quickly, with a mix of folks looking to make Waterwood their year-round place of residence and others looking for a second or seasonal home.

“We are planning for occupancy of the townhomes in spring of 2025, and then the condos will be a little later that spring or early summer,” she says. “We hit the ground running last Memorial Day, and we had great traction at that time and we’ve had a lot of people commit.”

Waterwood is a gated area, so you can’t just pop over and look around. You can, however, make an appointment at the property’s helicopter hangar-turned-sales studio to explore units via augmented reality goggles allowing the renderings to “come to life.”

Crane isn’t just selling homes at Waterwood but Vermilion itself, painting – especially to the group looking for a place to escape to whenever that’s possible – as a spot that says “vacation mode” but that’s close enough to the action.

“Vermilion is relaxation the minute you get there,” she says. “It’s so nice to have a getaway, but you’re still not too far from downtown Cleveland.

“It’s easy to get to Cleveland from Vermilion, whether you need to get to the airport or downtown or have a work engagement,” she adds. “It’s less of a commitment than the islands are.”

Crane knows that pitch probably sounds good at this point in the calendar.

“Right now is the time of year where people are coming out of the woodwork and really starting to think about summer,” she says, “so things are definitely busy.”