Commercial rehabbers use creativity and
craft to renew downtown storefronts
by Robert Inwood
A Facelift For
Downtown restoration programs are bringing new life to
rundown commercial districts and new business to
commercial remodelers. In the 1970s, preservation
organizations began to promote downtown restoration
through programs offering help with design, public
relations, and funding (see "Mainstreet to the Rescue,").
These "Mainstreet programs" help businesses develop a
coordinated "image" to compete with shopping malls. The
downtown image is based on its biggest asset -- its old
buildings -- and the public's nostalgia for a slice of history
and community pride.
Most downtowns suffer from piecemeal modernization.
False "Swiss chalet" fronts, "Wild West" boardwalks, or
aluminum cladding mask the original