Gotham has helped create more than 150 single family homes, primarily designed as custom homes for a client. Gotham has also helped create a good number of single family homes built on speculation both in subdivisions and as infill projects for developers. Several of Gotham’s projects have included large apartment buildings, such as the 202 residential units at Rivertowns Square developed by Lincoln Properties. These are the two standard products that have been supported by the financial packages most popular with the development industry. However, Gotham is particularly interested in what has become known as the “Missing Middle” in housing. Arthur Nelson, the author of Reshaping Metropolitan America: Development Trends and Opportunities to 2030 and Market Demand-Based Planning and Permitting has documented the disconnect between what the housing industry has been building and what the market needs.
A challenge of our time as a result of the Great Sprawl Experiment is that we have overproduced for the single-family home market, with a majority of homes having three, four, or even more bedrooms, when 83% of the households in the United States will have no children in 2030. It is often a surprise in communities like Dobbs Ferry that only 30% of the households currently have children in the school systems, although all that was built for several decades were homes for families with kids. Gotham has focused on redeveloping properties in the downtowns that can provide the one and two-bedroom apartments that are needed to strengthen local economies. This housing in the downtown puts “feet on the streets,” with residents who have the disposable income to spend in local stores and restaurants. There are many misimpressions about this type of housing, which is often best served by three and four-story buildings. It is highly efficient in terms of land use and energy demands. It can provide the density necessary to support local mass transit. Most important, it can provide the diverse and affordable housing that is most needed to fill the missing middle.
Gotham has also been very successful converting large homes originally built as mansions to multi-family housing, creating three to eight residential units each. Wit’s End and Genehurst in Dobbs Ferry provide this missing middle housing in buildings that otherwise would likely have been tear downs to create additional lots for single family homes. In the Dobbs Ferry downtown, 22, 24, 26, 27, 66, 75, 100 and 121 Main Street are examples of Gotham’s work renovating and adapting for reuse older buildings, as well as effective infill with new buildings. Gotham has targeted several other properties on both Main and Cedar Streets and hopes to continue this renaissance of the Dobbs Ferry downtown in a way that can preserve the historic fabric of the community. 2 Ashford Avenue is another building created by Gotham in Dobbs Ferry that fits with this effort. Gotham’s work in Wicker Park, Chicago resurrected many older buildings originally built as mansions, later converted to single-room-occupancy, and eventually abandoned. This helped transform Wicker Park from being one of the most dangerous and least desirable neighborhoods in the City to becoming an historic district that is now one of the more desirable places to live in Chicago.