When David Hovey Sr. and Eileen Hovey set out to create Optima in 1977, they had a distinct vision for how to transform their passions into a business. After deciding that David would design and build the projects and Eileen would take charge of sales, they put a second mortgage on their condominium and purchased infill land in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago. That plot of infill land eventually became our first development, but the concept of redevelopment and infill land has benefitted countless cities and urban areas throughout the country. Today, we dive into its history.
The American Planning Association describes infill development as redevelopment that “optimizes prior infrastructure investments and consumes less land that is otherwise available.” Infill development can result in efficient utilization of land resources, reinvestment in areas that are targeted for growth and more efficient delivery of quality public services. Infill buildings are often constructed on vacant or underused property or between existing buildings. Often called “smart growth,” infill development allows for sustainable land development close to a city’s urban core, instead of spreading out. This type of development also helps to renew neighborhoods and create more prosperous communities.
Following World War II, a series of local and federal initiatives were passed to revitalized aging and decaying parts of Chicago. Major institutions, including Illinois Institute of Technology, took part in the planning and reinvesting of various neighborhoods. New developments and infill on individual lots began to bring new vitality back to the city, with local school improvements and reduced crime rates following behind.
From our plots of land, to designing each residence, to creating fantastic amenity spaces, we’re passionate about bettering the lives of those within our buildings and the environments around them. Starting our first project on infill land, and continuing to do so with many projects for years after, reflects our pursuit of creating beautiful spaces that enhance the human experience.