So you are probably wondering what 50 vacant lots in an unfinished subdivision in Yorkville, IL has to do with UrbDeZine. Yorkville is a suburban community located 50 miles southwest of Chicago. You can barely go a day without reading an article about the impending death of the Suburbs and how to fix it. The promise of the American dream that the suburbs once embodied is under serious attack.. To say I was skeptical when my client called excited about picking up these 50 lots in Yorkville is an understatement. After I Googled Yorkville for it’s location I was even more skeptical. I mean this is past Oswego, and we’ve all heard that the new construction housing market, especially the new construction suburban housing market is years away from recovery.
Once the client started to discuss the specifics however, I was sold. He wants to design and market a series of high-performance sustainable single family homes. High-performance because the homes will be modeled to show how much better they perform versus a typical house designed to ASHREA 90.1. Sustainable because every product used to build these homes will be evaluated for its “greenness” in such areas as:
- sourced within a 500 mile radius of the site
- legitimate green certification,
- energy star label
Another interesting point about this project is that the land is owned by the Menards corporation. When Menards is planning a new suburban location they typically buy quite a bit of land surrounding the store if possible and then subdivide the land and sell it to home builders with the caveat that they, in turn, buy as many products as they can from Menards to build the homes. Menards is a family owned business with a commitment to products made in the U.S. This project is quickly becoming a marketing persons dream. And why not, this isn’t the only unfinished subdivision in America.
The Client is also getting financing from GreenChoice Bank, the Midwest’s first community bank that is dedicated to the environmental, social, and financial well-being of our communities and our planet. As you can imagine they are excited to be involved with this project.
We are designing the Model Home now and hope to start construction soon. The evaluation of the systems and research of the products and manufacturers has been exciting so far, especially having the opportunity to look at every component of a house and ask the important questions to determine if it fits within the concept. We will eventually have three model home designs with complementary exterior presentations. In the end there are neighborhoods urban and suburban, that will need to recover and hopefully it can be done in a positive way that considers buildings role in the big picture.
Image 1 from Google Maps
Image 2 from Google Maps