VM Ybor is a neighborhood just north of I-4 and walking distance to the Ybor Commercial District. The neighborhood association started doing home tours 3 years ago to showcase the homes in the neighborhood and portray the character of the neighborhood. The 3rd Annual VM Ybor Home Tour showcased 7 unique homes along with the newly remodelled Home Encounter office, Academy Prep Center of Tampa, and the J.C. Newman Cigar Factory.
The owners of the homes on the tour opened their doors to allow people from all over Tampa to see the intricate detail these homes were crafted with. While only part of VM Ybor is part of the Ybor City National Historic District, all of the homes had unique historic characteristics. The detail of things homes included wood floors, 9 to 12 foot ceilings, beadboard walls, and much more. With the brick roads throughout the neighborhood, the character and charm flows with each house being unique in style and color.
Home Encounter has remodelled several homes in the area and with their dedication to historic homes, they moved into the VM Ybor neighborhood on Columbus Drive. The office was originally a corner grocery store and was relocated to Columbus Drive for the expansion of I-4. When remodelling the property, they kept the detail of the building including the shelf that is original to the grocery store. They also remodelled the brick building next to the main office and currently use it for training and meetings.
A new addition to the VM Ybor Home Tour was Michelle Faedo's On-the-Go Food Truck providing food and refreshments. This is yet another way VM Ybor connects the community with local businesses.
The Academy Prep Center of Tampa was where the registration and start of the VM Ybor Home Tour was. This is a school for 5th through 8th graders that provides one of the most unique educations in the state of Florida. They moved to Ybor City in 2003 where they now occupy a historic building on Columbus Drive.
One of the highlights of the 3rd Annual VM Ybor Home Tour was the J.C. Newman Cigar Factory. The hundreds of people who arrived for the home tour prior to 2pm were able to tour the cigar factory and learn about the history from Eric Newman, grandson of J.C. Newman. The J.C. Newman Cigar Factory is the oldest operating family cigar factory in Tampa, FL and is know for its "El Reloj" for the clock at the top of the factory.
The VM Ybor neighborhood started the home tour 3 years ago to raise money for the association. Over the years, the home tour has been succesful and people who come are amased at the community and homes. This year was no exception and the VM Ybor Home Tour was almost double the attendance from last year. It is great to see the appreciation of historic areas including the unique Historic Ybor City.