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Glancer Magazine

NAPERVILLE | East Highlands Home Sells & Dismantles for ReUse During Neighborhood Redevelopment


NAPERVILLE–Madonna "Meg" Gannon and her husband Michael purchased 836 S. Julian Street on July 26, 1955, and, coincidentally, sold the property exactly 66 years later on July 26, 2021. Meg's husband had worked on every inch of the property, raising their boys in the home and enjoying every second on such a magical property. From basketball courts under towering oak trees, to family parties galore, the property was rich with Naperville history and perfect example of how Naperville has evolved.

Some say we are living in the midst of the great American land grab; Naperville has become one of the country's most sought-after communities. The East Highlands neighborhood and its Julian Street have long been regarded as one of the most desirable areas to build custom homes given its lot sizes and mature trees, making the perfect setting for new homes. Its classic streetscape, marked by the original iconic 1950s/1960s architecture has enriched with a new-age housing renaissance of custom homes.

Early this year, Gannon gave local Realtor, Trevor Pauling, who has emerged and earned the role of one of the area's go-to New Construction and Development Experts, the task of procuring the buyer for the property, as she wanted to select the builder that would end up redeveloping her property that aligned with her family’s vision and use of the property. Gannon selected local builder MHouse Development, as she loved their architecture and design and also knew they were building across the street and loved the idea of everything having a consistent look and feel in this entire block of Julian from Gartner to Woodlawn. "I just love the MHouse architecture and would personally love to live in one of their homes," Gannon said. Pauling has sold the properties at 831 S. Julian, 836 S. Julian, 806 S. Julian and 841 S. Julian, paving the way for a cohesive redevelopment of the area with MHouse Developement and the City of Naperville.

Momentum began to build, and now the City of Naperville is working in accordance with the annexation agreement to improve the roadways and also add sidewalks and streetlights, and, of course, bring city water and sewer to this section of Julian Street. The city is also installing all-new sewer lines all the way down Julian to the Porter intersection. It's a very progressive story behind the roadway improvements that are happening on Julian, and all the local residents can be confident that this short-term pain will absolutely be a long-term benefit to everyone in the area and to those who travel through it.

Meg had a good understanding of the process, and MHouse gave her a very generous timeline to deconstruct the home and sell off almost every part, from interior doors and cabinets to patio paver bricks; this house supported the Gannon family and could now be used in parts to support those that Meg chose to give them to, such as Habitat For Humanity and Sharing Connections. She was so grateful that MHouse gave her time to "downsize" and not feel rushed, and also to make sure that every bit of her family's longtime residence was reclaimed or repurposed in some way.

Pauling said that, given the amount of teardown homes he sells, and the emotions behind the family's history and all the memories shared in the home over the years, it's a very conflict-inducing process. "I was impressed to see how much Meg embraced the process; it was remarkable how effective she was in reclaiming, donating, repurposing and salvaging the home. Meg truly made the best of the change."

For example, Gannon and her neighbor, Carl, deconstructed the garage that Meg's husband, Michael Gannon, had built. The lumber is being reclaimed and reused to build a new garage at their lakehouse in Michigan.

The Gannon family is one of many who planted roots in the East Highlands neighborhood of Naperville; they are one of a select few who have remained for so long as to be able to witness ample development and enrichment of it, to the point where local nonprofits could benefit from the good bones of the house itself. Meg Gannon’s commitment to finding the best resources to fulfill her vision (including selecting the best Realtor and developer to partner with) will pay dividends not only for the nonprofits involved, but also for the families who’ll occupy the future of South Julian Street.


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