Rabin Terrace in the Historic West Village is well done. The early homes of Willert Park Village, built at the same time, are another example of appropriate infill development. Cannon Design was involved in site planning and unit design for both.
Willert Park Village homes, a mix of single-family detached and duplexes, are all-brick and built by M.J. Peterson Co. Each featured two or three bedrooms, full basements, one and a half bathrooms, and an attached garage. The architectural style was selected to resemble the character of city housing.
Construction started in 1982 and consisted of 27 homes selling for $25,000 to $30,000 each in the Hickory/Pratt/Sycamore street area. Homes cost $70,000 to build but sales prices were reduced through Community Development Block Grant funding. Homes were built on vacant, City-owned lots.
Fifty additional homes were built in a second phase and sold for $40,000 to $45,000. Subsidies were forgiven if the buyer lived in the house for ten years. Unlike scattered-site infill homes, foreclosures in the Pratt Willert neighborhood are relatively rare. Homes occasionally turn up on the resale market, usually selling in the $50,000 to $60,000 range.
The development won the Urban Land Institute Award for Excellence in 1989. Unfortunately, the home designs were dumbed-down in successive phases and the term “vinyl Victorian” was born.
To this day, the City struggles to create a revitalization plan that balances the need to upgrade housing in a neighborhood while improving the lives of existing residents.