DowntownTX.org is a real estate and building inventory tool for historic Texas downtowns. Available to cities participating in the Texas Main Street and Certified Local Government programs, the application offers the following functionality:
- Increases the visibility of downtown buildings and business opportunities in the larger context of community and place including connecting investors and developers to properties that are potentially eligible for historic preservation tax incentives;
- Inventories a community's downtown commercial building stock including storing and making publicly available building histories, photographs, and historic resource survey information; and,
- Provides powerful administrative capabilities for downtown program management which helps build historic preservation and economic development capacity.
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 downtown revitalization field. It officially launched on May 1, 2017, for Preservation Month. Cities are being continually added over time.
2018 Imagine the Possibilities Tours
Over twenty cities across Texas will once again invite potential investors, downtown developers, entrepreneurs, as well as the less experienced, but community-minded individual looking to be part of downtown's transformation, to imagine the possibilities in May 2018. This is nearly double the number of cities that participated last year in the now annual Preservation Month event. The concentrated statewide effort creates synergy and excitement for Texas' historic downtowns and helps bring the site to life. Selected properties featured on each city’s DowntownTX.org page will be 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 the Photo Gallery below for highlights from 2017.
Cities and Dates
- Beeville - Wednesday, May 2, 5:30 - 7:00 PM walking tour.
- La Grange - Thursday, May 3, 5:30 - 7:30 PM, walking tour with Historic Happy Hour.
- Elgin - Thursday, May 10, 5:00 - 8:00 PM, public property tour featuring available properties and successful business owners during monthly Sip, Shop and Stroll.
- Sherman - Thursday, May 10, 5:30 - 7:30 PM, guided walking tour.
- Longview - Thursday, May 10, 5:00 - 8:00 PM, walking tour featuring property open houses, museums open late.
- Uvalde - Friday, May 11, 5:00 - 8:00 PM, property tour coinciding with Four Square Friday event.
- Caldwell - Saturday, May 12, 11:00 AM - 2:00 PM walking tour coinciding with Second Saturday.
- Texarkana - Saturday, May 12, time TBA.
- Bastrop - Postponed until Fall 2018.
- Elgin - Thursday, May 17, noon - 2:00 PM broker/developer tour with BBQ lunch.
- Taylor - Thursday, May 17, 4:00 - 6:00 PM. Two property showcases as part of Third Thursday.
- Kingsville - Thursday, May 17, 5:30 - 7:30 PM.
- Brownsville - Friday, May 18, 4:00 - 6:00 PM guided walking tour ending with Historical Happy Hour.
- Paris - Saturday, May 19, 1:00 - 4:00 PM.
- Amarillo - Sunday, May 20, 2:00 - 4:00 PM.
- Harlingen - Friday, May 25, 6:00 - 9:00 PM during Art Night. Guided golf cart tours, pop-up gallery and downtown residential showcase.
- Palestine - Friday, May 25, noon - 4:00 PM.
- San Marcos - Friday, May 25 - Monday, May 28, self-guided walking tour, open all weekend.
- Mount Vernon - Saturday, May 26, 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM.
- Tyler - Thursday, May 31, 4:00 - 6:00 PM self-guided tour.
- Beaumont - Saturday, June 2, 4:00 - 6:00 PM with happy hour 6:00 - 7:00 PM.
- Corpus Christi - Saturday, June 9, 10:00 - 11:00 AM public tour with registration at 9:30 AM. Broker/lender/community leader tour will follow on Thursday, June 14, 5:00 - 5:30 PM with happy hour at 6:00 PM.
- Canton - Postponed until October 13.
- Linden - Saturday, July 7, 6:00 - 10:00 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.