By: Bethani Bell
The photo to the left is of a local developer and property owner in the Near West Side, Tom Straub who is the new owner of the Vliet Street Farmhouse. This residential property had been through many foreclosures and was eventually purchased by Tom Straub. He purchased the Farmhouse in hopes of turning it into commercial property.
“Hoping to save and turn the Vliet Street Farm House into something cool,” Tom would love to turn the property into an event venue for small businesses in the area to highlight art exhibits or local music. Possibly even creating a space for farmstands for local growers. Tom’s goal is to make the farmhouse into “a community gathering space that will help bring interest to the neighborhood and boost the small business in the neighborhood.” Whether it be a local dinner or coffee shop, anything to really boost the NWS and especially Vliet Street.
The Vliet Street Farm House located on the 3700 block of Vliet, right across from Washington Park has rich history. Dating back to a time when a family of German immigrants moved into the area in hopes to start a new life. Before Washington Park became what we know today, the area was filled with farmland and the perfect spot for the family to build this wonderful farmhouse.
Near West Side Partners has been a major contributor with bringing in programs like The Choice Neighborhood program and Store Front Improvement program which have been beneficial in the renovation of the Near West Side neighborhoods including the Vliet Street Farmhouse. Tom Straub notes that the Store Front Improvement Program has been economically beneficial as well as creating quality building and product into the community. Near West Side Partners has been incredibly supportive in the development of Vliet Street. Not only have the programs been beneficial for the properties but also the new tents bringing in their businesses onto Vliet Street.
Tom notes that one of the tenets he bought in has brought their own foreclosed property and is renovating the building into a production facility for their frozen food line. “When you see that kind of turnaround and commitment that they enjoy the neighborhood so much that they are now investing their own hard money, I think it is a great deal.”