Home Grown

Housing development

HomeTown Aurora

Bigelow Homes, Aurora, DuPage, Kane, Kendall and Will counties

HomeTown Aurora was designed to create community, provide housing options and build the local tax base.

Target

Individuals and families with a range of sizes and incomes.

Development information

Type: Single-family detached, single-family attached and loft
Total units: 1,288
Total affordable units: 600
Price points: Range from $150,000 to $300,000
Funding sources: Standard Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Loan

Lessons learned

Providing varied housing options within a compact design allows for an economically diverse community that contributes financially to local schools and municipalities.

The development

When Bigelow Homes designed HomeTown Aurora, the developer wanted to re-create a small, pre-World War II, Midwestern town, with cultural and economic sustainability and diversity. HomeTown Aurora is a 1,288-unit development that includes single-family detached, single-family attached and loft-style homes. Of 1,288 unites, 600 are affordable to families earning below 80 percent of area median income, which was $57,900 for a family of four in 2014. Half of the homes are two-bedroom, 40 percent are three-bedroom and the rest are four-bedroom. HomeTown Aurora is located on the east side of the city, in an area targeted for residential growth. The development was designed to create community, enhance the environment, provide housing options and build the local tax base.

Because of its compact design, assessed valuation is $396,258 per acre, more than twice that of other new subdivisions in the area. Furthermore, due to narrower streets in its mixed-use compact design, the development required far less public street development and preserved 273 acres of open space.

Creating affordability

HomeTown Aurora includes diverse housing types that appeal to a wide range of homebuyers in the market. The development has eight pedestrian-friendly, compact, traffic-calmed neighborhoods, with a commercially viable and socially appealing town center. HomeTown Aurora demonstrates that it is possible to develop new neighborhoods that offer varied housing options and have less impact on the natural environment, less traffic and less need for municipal services.

This award-winning development balances common open space with smaller private lots, allowing for a range of housing types and price points. The homes appeal to singles, empty-nesters and young couples without children, as well as families. Most of the residents do not have children, creating less of a demand on local schools. HomeTown’s affordability is strictly a result of the variety of housing products it offers and its more compact, energy-efficient design. There are no subsidies or long-term pricing restrictions associated with these homes.

Public involvement

One of the challenges in building HomeTown was that this model of development does not fit with traditional city codes and zoning practices. Many of the aspects that contributed to HomeTown’s affordability and sustainability (i.e. narrow streets and smaller lot size) required extensive negotiations between Bigelow Homes and City representatives. This entitlement process took two years to complete.

Contact

Bigelow Homes
630-631-0700, www.bigelowhomes.com

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