There are thousands of buildings in America’s older downtowns with vacant upper floors. These spaces have a central location, high visibility, complete community infrastructure, and are prime candidates for redevelopment. UpstairsDowntown is an award-winning initiative created to help owners reclaim and reuse these vacant upper floors, and turn them into income-producing properties.

The UpstairsDowntown training program was developed by the IHPA for the Illinois Main Street program but it has been successfully implemented time after time across the United States. It is designed for building owners, contractors, architects, city officials, preservationists, and downtown professionals.

Over ten years ago, I was fortunate to run into Dan Carmody and Mike Jackson presenting their UpstairsDowntown program. It is perfectly designed to help the local property owner with little to no experience in redeveloping their building find the resources and expertise to successfully get the job done. Dan and Mike saw a need, found the necessary tools, and have been helping local property owners bring their vacant buildings back to life.”
— John Simone, Pres. & CEO, Connecticut Main Street Center

What the Program has Achieved

  • The community of Rock Island, IL, was the starting point for Upstairs Downtown. This community, with inspired leadership from the non-profit, city, and business sector, has created more than 150 plus housing units downtown, in a city of under 40,000. 
  • The Upstairs Downtown program has been showcased at two Town Meetings of the National Main Street Center.  This training program has been hosted by state-wide and local Main Street organizations in Arkansas, Connecticut, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Texas, and Wisconsin.
  • The success of this program is measured in terms of community capacity.  This program enables local leaders to comprehend the complexity or real estate development as it applies to the small-scale properties along America’s Main Streets.  This is a real estate market that is not a target of professional “developers.”  Upstairs Downtown inspires communities to be their own developers.