The Texas Main Street Program and Town Square Initiative staff are excited to announce the public launch of DowntownTX.org—a website that's ready to revolutionize how downtown programs manage and share data; and more importantly, connect interested investors, developers, and entrepreneurs to opportunities. DowntownTX.org is an online building inventory for Texas downtowns featuring historic property listings. There is no other product like it available on the market. The website officially launched on May 1 for Preservation Month with about 20 cities online.
Twelve Main Street cities across the state helped celebrate and promote DowntownTX.org by hosting local Imagine the Possibilities tours. The tours showcased 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 were open and accessible to the public, and tour attendees obtained additional information on downtown development and business resources at a central gathering point. See Photo Gallery below for highlights.
2017 Imagine the Possibilities Tours
- Sherman – Wednesday, May 10, 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM
- Palestine – Friday, May 12, Noon to 4:00 PM
- Texarkana – Saturday, May 13, 10:00 - 4:00 PM
- Bastrop – Thursday, May 18, 4:00 - 7:00 PM
- Waco – Friday, May 19, 4:00 - 6:00 PM
- Linden – Friday, May 19, 5:00 - 8:00 PM
- Beeville – Saturday, May 20, 1:00 - 3:00 PM
- Paris – Saturday, May 20, 11:00 AM - 2:00 PM
- Tyler – Thursday, May 25, 4:00 PM - 7:00 PM
- Harlingen – Friday, May 26, 6:00 - 9:00 PM during Harlingen's Art Night
- McKinney – Wednesday, May 31, 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
- Seguin – Wednesday, May 31, 4:00 - 7:00 PM
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.