DowntownTX.org is an online building inventory for Texas downtowns featuring historic property listings. Available to cities participating in the Texas Main Street and Certified Local Government programs, the application offers the following functionality:
- It inventories a community's downtown commercial building stock including storing historic resource survey and building condition information;
- It highlights investment opportunities in the context of the community;
- It frames downtowns as unique places that offer history, a high quality of life and a chance, as building or business owners, to participate in a community's transformation; and,
- It provides powerful administrative capabilities for downtown program management which helps build historic preservation and economic development capacity in small towns across Texas.
The software was conceptualized and developed by the Town Square Initiative for use by the THC's programs and is the first of its kind in the historic preservation/downtown revitalization field. It officially launched on May 1, 2017, for Preservation Month. Cities are being continually added over time.
Twelve Main Street cities across the state helped celebrate and promote the launch of DowntownTX.org by hosting local Imagine the Possibilities tours. These are now an annual event! The tours showcase available downtown properties as a way to engage potential investors, entrepreneurs, developers, residents and anyone else who has imagined themselves running a business, owning a building or living downtown. Selected properties featured on each city’s DowntownTX.org page are open and accessible to the public, and tour attendees can obtain additional information on downtown development and business resources at a central gathering point. See Photo Gallery below for highlights.
2018 Imagine the Possibilities Tours - Dates Coming Soon
Nearly twenty cities across Texas will once again invite real estate professionals, downtown developers, entrepreneurs, as well as the less experienced, but community-minded individual looking to be part of downtown's tranformation, to imagine the possibilities in May 2018. Tour cities and dates will be announced April 1. This concentrated statewide effort creates synergy and excitement for our historic downtowns and the website provides the perfect matchmaking platform, connecting the right people to the right places and spaces.
The DowntownTX.org concept originated in 2015 by the Town Square Initiative as a proactive strategy to increase and influence the market exposure of available historic properties in downtowns across Texas. The initial working project name was the Downtown Online Inventory. TSI received support from the Still Water foundation in the fall of 2015 and directed Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) monies through the Certified Local Government (CLG) grant program to funding the first two phases of development. Three CLG communities and one additional non-CLG community were selected as pilot cities to work closely with TSI staff on developing the software between January 1 and September 30, 2016. An additional third phase of functionality is planned for later this year.
CRE Planning and Development completed the application planning, design, and development. This team was experienced in historic preservation software as the creators of RuskinArc, which is an online user-friendly application to capture and publicly display historic resource survey information.
DowntownTX.org is unique in that is features two user interfaces both running from a Google Map-based platform. The public interface largely focuses on showcasing investment opportunities and historic building information. Besides featuring investment opportunities in the context of the community, the site also highlights incentives, provides a direct connection to the correct local contacts and clarifies the local development process. The user-friendly design makes it easy to scan the entire state and provides the ability to search in ways no other online real estate search tool does—for example, properties can be filtered by National Register designation as a way to help direct interested historic real estate developers to properties eligible for the historic tax incentive programs.
It is not solely focused on showcasing for sale and for lease opportunities. As a complete inventory of a downtown district, the application highlights historic building information, such as photos, original name and use, year built and short building histories; therefore, history lovers and old building enthusiasts are welcome just to browse as well.
The software also features an administrative dashboard so each online community can access a tailored homepage to manage their building and business data. The dashboard stores information beyond what is publicly displayed and offers office use only functionality to save additional documents, photos and reports. In addition, the application is designed to be volunteer-friendly. Main Street managers can create as many additional log-ins as necessary in order to distribute tasks for data entry and updating information over time.
Click on any image to view the photo gallery.