The community of SchoolStreet, a four-acre residential project in the Village of Libertyville, Illinois, may be paving the way for a new model of infill development. Dubbed redfields, large plots of foreclosed homes ("in the red") offer a cost-effective and community-friendly solution for neighborhoods devastated by the housing market crash.
Identified for an adaptive reuse development nearly forty years ago, the original project gained momentum in 2007 when developers began construction on 31 luxury brownstones around the long-vacant Libertyville Central School building. When the bank foreclosed on the properties in 2009, the project's future looked grim.
"John Spoden, AICP, Libertyville's community development director, braced himself for proposals to tear the historic building down and increase the height and density of new construction – conventional responses to making development work in tough markets and on infill sites," writes Dillemuth.
But the development potential piqued the interest of John McLinden, a developer who had already had success with residential infill projects in nearby Chicago. Working closely with the community development department, the mayor, and the community, McLinden forged a plan for a new urbanist community that has drawn thousands of visitors and considerable media attention.
By taking advantage of a foreclosed property, McLinden was able to offer units at 56% of the asking price of the brownstones planned in 2007.
SchoolStreet was the subject of a recent Tuesdays at APA podcast.