The Village Condominiums- formerly “Fairfield Gardens”
If you’ve ever travelled down Belmont Street you have seen them but probably don’t know the story behind The Village Condominiums. Located in “West” Watertown, the 308 units are located on Belmont Street, Lexington Street, Grant Avenue, Pierce Road and Duff Street. Belmont is located just north of the property and Waltham is nearby to the west. The Village is a popular destination for first time home buyers searching for a unit which feels more like a single family home than some of the other units in this price range in Watertown.
These units have an interesting history. Originally built in 1945 by Paul Livoli, Fairfield Gardens, as it was know was touted as the largest privately owned Veteran’s Rental Project in New England. The development consists of twenty-six buildings containing the 308 garden type family apartments spread over 18 acres of land. A description from the original brochure described the units as modern with an up to date kitchen featuring inlaid linoleum floors, a metal cabinet type sink, and metal kitchen cabinets. Lattice fences enclosed the drying yards (laundry) and the parking areas were illuminated by gas lanterns.
In my early years in the business, I remember customers referring to the development as the “Gas Lamp Village”. These gas lamps have since been replaced by electric ones. Veterans were given the first opportunity to rent the units and they were held aside for 30 days before being offered to the general public. The monthly rent was a whopping $85.00 and tenants paid their own heat and electricity bills. A $50 deposit and a $2 service charge were required with each application.
The complex was eventually purchased by Norman Duffy, Robert Duffy, and James Duffy and I have an original Fairfield Gardens, Inc. brochure with a notation written in pencil that says “being offered for $2,325,000." In 1973 the Duffy brothers converted the units to condominiums in three phases. Original selling prices were in the $17,500 range and options included an updated kitchen, central air conditioning and a finished basement.
The property was improved with an in ground pool and there is a resident’s clubhouse which is accessed off Pierce Road. The units have stood the test of time. The exterior brick is still in excellent condition, many of the units still have the original tile bathrooms, and every once in a while we run across a unit with the original heating systems still functioning. Other changes have been made over the years with updating of windows and the addition of enclosed patios.
Through all the changes that have taken place at the Village and all the time that has passed since the original construction, there has been one constant. The Village Condominiums are still a sought after destination. They offered then and continue to offer today an appealing, comfortable, convenient home in a wonderful community at an affordable price.