DowntownTX.org is a real estate and building inventory aggregate tool developed by the Texas Main Street for historic Texas downtowns participating in the Texas Main Street and Certified Local Government programs. More cities are being continually added over time.
As the first of its kind in the downtown revitalization field, the software's unique combined features enable program managers to:
- Increase 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;
- Inventory a community's downtown commercial building stock, including storing and making publicly available building histories, photographs, and historic resource survey information; and,
- Build historic preservation and economic development incentive capacity through powerful administrative capabilities for downtown program management.
If you are a current participant of the Texas Main Street Program or Certified Local Government city and would like to have your city featured on the website, please contact Kylie Woodlock with the Texas Main Street at (512) 463-7466 to begin the process.
The DowntownTX.org concept, under the initial working project name "the Downtown Online Inventory," originated in 2015 by the Town Square Initiative as a proactive strategy to influence and increase the market exposure of available historic properties in downtowns across Texas. 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 fund the first two phases of development. Three CLG communities and one additional non-CLG community worked closely with TSI staff to pilot test and develop the software from January 1 to September 30, 2016. The public site officially launched on May 1, 2017, aligning with National Preservation Month. An additional third phase of functionality is planned for 2020, which will expand the site's administrative reporting capabilities and optimize mobile functionality.
CRE Planning and Development completed the software planning, design, and development. This team was experienced in historic preservation software as the creators of RuskinArc, an online, user-friendly application to capture and publicly display historic resource survey information.
DowntownTX.org is unique in that it features two user interfaces both running from a Google Map-based platform: a public interface and an administrative dashboard. The public interface largely focuses on showcasing investment opportunities and historic building information in the context of the community, while also highlighting incentives, providing a direct connection to the correct local contacts, and clarifying local development processes. The user-friendly design enables users 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 real estate developers to properties eligible for the historic tax incentive programs.
The public interface 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. History lovers and old building enthusiasts are welcome just to browse and learn more about historic Texas downtowns.
The software also hosts a volunteer-friendly 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. Local program managers can build archival records of their historic downtowns by maintaining and updating property information over time.
Imagine the Possibilities Tours
Cities across Texas invite potential investors, downtown developers, entrepreneurs, and residents looking to be part of downtown's transformation to "Imagine the Possibilities" each May for Preservation Month. Selected properties featured on each city’s DowntownTX.org page are open and accessible to the public, and tour attendees obtain additional information on downtown development and business resources.