Mass Housing

    The trend to think outside of the norm continued when in 1958 the Matalons introduced mass housing into Jamaica. Owen Matalon identified a building system being used by the Fullama Brothers of Puerto Rico. They formed a partnership to construct the fist major mass housing development in Jamaica using an in-situ construction method.

    The Matalons had watched with interest the Levitt construction methods used in the United States after the war and sought to use a similar process to produce large numbers of homes employing unskilled labour and providing access to mortgage funding.

    The housing development, undertaken by the newly established West Indies Home Contractor Limited (WIHCON) was met with skepticism by journalists and many society leaders. The project was lambasted in the press and the Matalons were accused of building homes that were too close to each other and housing people in boxes. Although the development initially sold out within days, many customers cancelled due to the barrage of negative press. Not daunted by this, Aaron Matalon, the marketing guru among the team, crafted an advertising campaign to sell a few houses at a time without revealing that there had been massive cancellations. The houses were all resold within a few months. Eventually, other developments followed, and were also accompanied by the establishment and expansion of new businesses to support the demands for materials from WIHCON.


Construction