Our Role in the Development Process

Typically, Peterson Economics works on proposed new projects that involve a number of team members, including the developer along with land planners, golf course architects, engineers, and others. As the market/feasibility consultant, our role is to evaluate local and/or regional market conditions and the potential market appeal of the subject site and proposed project. We then work in conjunction with land planners, architects, and other team members to formulate recommendations regarding the most appropriate development components and market positioning. We provide general recommendations concerning market positioning (high-end vs. mid-market, public vs. private, etc.) and appropriate development components (i.e., whether to include lodging, and if so, what type; whether to include fractional or timeshare; what type and size of clubhouse; etc.). The land planners, golf course architects, and other designers then assume responsibility for specific design issues.

Often, during the course of the development process, developers wonder when to engage each of these parties. Although Peterson Economics’ services may be engaged at any time during the development process, typically our services are the most valuable when we are engaged early in the process, rather than later. Optimally, we should be engaged in conjunction with land planners and/or other designers, after a developer has secured an option to purchase a site, but before substantial funds have been committed to the project. This way, the developer keeps more flexibility to alter development plans when stronger options are identified, or to walk away from projects with unsatisfactory financial potential. By engaging Peterson Economics early in the process and adopting a market-driven design and development approach, the project can be designed and positioned to maximize its potential profit and return on investment.

Steps in Peterson Economics’ Analyses

While all projects are unique in their scopes, many projects follow similar pathways. Typical steps in Peterson Economics’ analyses include:

  • Site Inspection: Peterson Economics evaluates the suitability of the subject site from a market perspective, evaluating factors such as accessibility, visibility from major roads, and the physical characteristics of the site.
  • Local Area Overview: Peterson Economics examines the local area, focusing on factors that could impact demand for the subject project, such as climate, geography, existing amenities (such as shopping, dining, medical, schools, recreation options, etc.), visitation, visitor profiles, seasonality, resident demographics, existing residential market conditions, etc.
  • Examination of Existing Relevant Resorts/Residential Communities/Golf Courses/Hotels: Depending on the land uses in question, Peterson Economics identifies relevant projects and completes detailed overviews of the relevant properties, focusing on operating performance, sales performance, buyer profiles, visitation patterns, seasonality, architectural styles, recreation amenities, etc. Information for this task is typically gathered through site inspections and detailed, face-to-face interviews with resort managers, directors of golf, directors of sales, and other key staff. Although this research is time-consuming, we view it as an absolutely critical component of any market analysis.
  • Investigation of Relevant Proposed Projects: In order to ascertain the likely future competitive landscape for the client’s project, Peterson Economics completes comprehensive investigations of relevant proposed projects.
  • Analysis of Demand: In order to gauge the depth and profile of market support for proposed resorts, golf courses, residential communities, or other project types, Peterson Economics completes detailed overviews of relevant source markets, examining demographic factors and local economic conditions, and then typically performs quantitative analyses of potential demand by market segment, providing benchmarks from which to evaluate the likely future supply-and-demand relationship.
  • Formulation of Development Recommendations and Financial Analysis: After conducting in-depth research, Peterson Economics uses this information and its industry knowledge to work with the land planner and/or golf course architect to formulate comprehensive development and market positioning recommendations for the project, based on a detailed, pro forma financial analysis. For each project, we construct a customized financial model, and then test various market positionings, phasing options, and development options to determine which development program and market positioning appears most capable of meeting the client’s stated objectives. We then provide detailed recommendations concerning appropriate amenities to include, appropriate operating policies and structures, appropriate unit types and pricing, appropriate phasing, etc. Clients typically place great value on this section of our report, and often use our recommendations as the basis for their future development planning.

The above summary is by no means comprehensive; many projects are more specialized and require completion of additional tasks, such as focus groups, surveys, interviews with knowledgeable developers, interviews with hotel acquisitions departments, etc. Depending on the complexity of the project and the wishes of the developer, Peterson Economics tailors its scope of services to fit the project.

Peterson Economics also performs similar market and financial analyses for clients interested in purchasing, selling, or repositioning existing or partially completed golf courses, resorts, and residential communities. We are typically retained by investors, developers, and operators interested in purchasing existing properties and generating a stronger return on investment by repositioning these properties in the market and/or developing remaining components.

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By engaging Peterson Economics early in the process and adopting a market-driven design and development approach, the project can be designed and positioned to maximize its potential profit and return on investment.

Hualalai Resort on the Big Island of Hawaii

Hualalai Resort on the Big Island of Hawaii: Mr. Peterson completed a series of analyses for this highly successful new resort between 1993 and 1998.



New Condos at Kolea, Kohala Coast of the Big Island, Hawaii

New condos at Kolea, Kohala Coast of the Big Island, Hawaii: Mr. Peterson completed a series of analyses for this new oceanfront resort in 2000 and 2001.


While the primary purpose of retaining Peterson Economics is typically to assist in internal decision-making regarding land planning and market positioning issues, our reports are highly regarded in the development industry and are also useful to developers seeking to find investment partners, to obtain financing, or to sell a project.


Timbers at Troy Golf Club, Howard County, Maryland

Timbers at Troy Golf Club, Howard County, Maryland: Mr. Peterson completed the market and financial analysis for this successful new municipal golf course in 1995.



Legacy at Lakewood Ranch Golf Club near Sarasota, Florida

Legacy at Lakewood Ranch Golf Club near Sarasota, Florida: Mr. Peterson completed the market and financial analysis for this successful new Palmer-designed golf course in 1995, and was instrumental in persuading the developer to route this hole into this dramatic lakefront setting.