ELMHURST – Nearly a year after the Elmhurst City Council passed a redevelopment agreement with New Home Star, the real estate firm has moved into the space at 145 W. Second St. in Elmhurst and is on its way to bigger and more "awesome" things.
Elmhurst resident David Rice, the founder and CEO of New Home Star, previously was an executive for a national home-building company. Rice said he founded his company in 2008 in Elmhurst because it felt more authentic and relaxed than Chicago.
"There's a real sense of community in Elmhurst, and we feel like we're part of it. ... It's certainly got a lot to do with our identity, and we like to think we have a positive impact on the town's identity too, in a small way," Rice said.
New Home Star's corporate operations director, Taylor Holop, said the Elmhurst City Council helped keep the company in the city by helping clean up the gas station site and making relocation within the city "attractive." New Home Star and the city of Elmhurst have a $335,000 TIF incentive redevelopment agreement, which was passed by aldermen March 20, 2017, with a 11-2 vote.
Rice said he planned to knock down the gas station next to the current office space and work with architects and designers to build a bigger building that would serve as a "longer-term" corporate headquarters and have space for other entrepreneurs and businesses that want to be in Elmhurst.
He said it's going to be designed to be "an Elmhurst sort of awesome, where it feels like it belongs there."
Ping pong tables, a bigger kitchen with a chef and an outdoor deck with fire pits are more their "version of awesome," Rice said.
Holop said New Home Star has a "strong" internship program with Elmhurst College and tries to stay local to Elmhurst with some of its incentives and its fulfillment of its value of giving back. The company is a national organization that has more than 350 agents across the country, he said.
New Home Star has "adopted" Berens Park by cleaning up the park monthly, and employees play volleyball with the Elmhurst Park District.
New Home Star received the Glassdoor Employees' Choice Award in the small and medium sized-companies category based on the feedback of employees via Glassdoor, a website where employees and former employees can anonymously review companies and their management.