UPDATED — Rich and Marni Vliet were a young couple in 1975 when they first started buying Old Town property.
“Rich began having this Old Town dream when we met,” Marni Vliet says of her late husband, who died of ALS two years ago.
First, they purchased the Looking Glass restaurant in the 400 block of East Douglas.
Then, in the mid 1980s, they began eyeing a dilapidated area of Old Town in the 900 block along East Douglas.
“We were beginning to get a feel for the frontage of Douglas,” Vliet says. “We used to sit at the Beacon and look at the block over our omelettes.”
The Vliets shared a dream and a dedication to the redevelopment of Old Town, and that included what Rich Vliet thought of as the entry point of Old Town.
“Rich was right,” Vliet says. “He said, ‘Old Town needs a face. … It needs a front door.’”
The Vliets purchased the property from 910 through 926 E. Douglas, which has 29,531 square feet over nine units. Friday, they sold it to a group called Old Town Ventures.
“I wouldn’t even characterize it as bittersweet,” Marni Vliet says. “It’s the end of a chapter for our family.”