A Detailed IBM Home Construction Timeline
A Detailed Construction Timeline of IBM’s 20th Century Affordable Housing Project
- IBM announces that it is in the “Affordable Housing for Employees” business.
- IBM engineers survey an 84-acre site with the potential for 325 home building sites.
- IBM starts its first ten homes, and fourteen are completed by May 1937.
- IBM announces a $2 million FHA program for the construction of 350 homes to be sold at cost to employees: six houses are sold and 134 applications received.
- Homes are of a Colonial style, six-room frame construction with kitchen, living room, and dining room on the first floor and three bedrooms and bathroom on the second floor.
- Average cost per home was estimated at $3,600.
- Twenty-eight homes are completed at a cost of $115,000 with thirteen homes under construction and plans to build an additional 300 houses.
- Lots are 50 x 150 feet and homes are now built according to plans selected by the employee. Norway maple trees are planted between curbs and sidewalks, and curbs, sidewalks and gutters are installed as the subdivision expands.
- Average cost per home was estimated at $4,237.
- By April, $178,000 worth of dwelling construction had been performed. Since the start of the subdivision, forty homes had been finished with nine homes under construction.
- In May, IBM announces a $60,000 summer construction program of a minimum of fifteen new residences at an approximate value of $4,000 each. It is noted that demand may drive the number of homes to twenty or more.
- Depression-era public works programs constructed several thousand feet of new sidewalks, curbs, gutters, and sewers.
- By August, forty-eight homes are completed and 100 of the 350 lots in the subdivision are reserved by employees.
- In October, IBM announces $300,000 in new residential construction with the addition of a fifty-three-lot subdivision.
- Average cost per home is estimated at $4,500. The reason for the increase over 1937 is the home owner’s request for “more refinements.”
- The IBM Resident Manager stated that since the new subdivision opened in August 1936, ninety IBM families with approximately three hundred family members had moved into the new subdivision.
- IBM announced construction of twenty-five new houses in the Endicott Highlands development at an estimated cost of $100,000. This addition increased the total investment in the subdivision to $600,000.
1942 [World War II started in December 1941]
- The Triple Cities area is designated an “essential defense area” by Presidential action enabling home construction to continue on an as-approved basis.
- IBM files for FHA approval for fifty new homes—$160,000 in spring construction.
- The IBM resident manager says that there are 722 home sites in the Endicott Highlands area: 124 sites have homes, 212 lots have utility service and are ready for construction, and 386 additional lots that are laid out but otherwise undeveloped. He estimates that current investments in homes totals $400,000 and an additional $200,000 in public improvements. Because of the wartime conditions any new construction is premised on materials being released.
- Charles A Kirk, IBM Vice-President in charge of manufacturing, announces that IBM has acquired 1,500 acres of land for the “expansion of home development.”
1945 [World War II ends]
- In May, IBM contracts out for ten new homes.
- With the end of the war, homes now cost an average of $7,000 each.
- By June, IBM had completed thirteen homes, had eighteen under construction, and had forty more in the planning stages. With the end of World War II, IBM prioritized veterans’ applications for any new homes. As an example of the shortage of veteran housing, there were only eighty-two apartments made available through the combined state and federal programs to meet the demands of 230 veterans and their families that applied for assistance.
- By year’s end, IBM completed thirty new homes at a cost of more than $200,000 and stated that it had further plans to provide homes for its veterans in 1947.
- It is estimated that a total of 150 homes have been built in the area.
- Endicott Highlands Corporation reports that 137 homes have been completed with thirteen under construction. The corporation sets a goal—depending on the weather—to build homes at a rate of one a week to meet the list of employees who have applied for new homes.
- o Average assessed valuation of a new home is approximately $8,000.
- Seventeen houses were completed in 1948 with six additional homes to be completed sometime in 1949. The paper estimated that with the completion of the homes in 1949 the total Endicott Highlands valuation would be close to $2,000,000.
- IBM ends its home-building project stating that it cannot duplicate the benefit in other communities in which the company has factories. United States factories were located in Endicott, Poughkeepsie, Washington, and San Jose. Although not mentioned, the company would have faced enormous obstacles duplicating this benefit in the overseas factories where home ownership was in many cases not feasible. The remaining unsold lots—valued at $92,000—were to be sold individually or in block.
- The IBM resident manager summed up the home-building effort by elaborating on the 226 homes built in the area: 151 homes were built by IBM through its subsidiary corporation, the Endicott Highlands Corporation. These occupied about half the tracts of land. In addition, 75 homes were built privately by individuals who bought lots directly from the development corporation.