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Investing in Downtown

Denton is an independent and spirited community, but like many other communities, its downtown has had its ups and downs. The area was vital in the late seventies but faced a severe slump in the eighties. The community, however, didn't let the heritage, traditions, and familiar haunts of its once beloved downtown become abandoned.

Denton County Courthouse, built in 1896, was restored in 1986 to its historic grandeur, with locally quarried limestone, sandstone, red granite, a working clock tower, ornate wood interiors, and balconies.

Denton County Courthouse

With the courthouse restoration as inspiration, a coalition of merchants and civic leaders formed the Central Business District Association, and in 1989 submitted an application to become an official Main Street city (a designation awarded nationwide by the National Trust for Historic Preservation to help communities revitalize downtown areas). The Central Business District Association's goal was to revitalize 90 square blocks in and around the historic courthouse square.

The City of Denton initially funded the Main Street Program by providing one full-time staff person and office expenses (which has since increased to two full time staff), and it appointed the Downtown Development Advisory Board to oversee its progress. The excitement that was generated by Denton's affiliation as a Texas Main Street City inspired new interest in the downtown area and the entire city got behind the effort. The private sector pledged $30,000 a year for three years to supplement the City's funds.

Since then, the Central Business District Association has officially become the Denton Main Street Association (DMSA), a 501(c)6 not-for-profit. DMSA works in concert with the City of Denton Economic Development office to continue the tradition of investment in Downtown through activities that market the downtown area as a community treasure, while focusing on continuing reinvestment through marketing strategies, historic preservation and new infill development.

The impact the DMSA's and the City of Denton's work has had on downtown Denton is evidenced by the marked physical and financial improvements in the area.

Locally, Denton's Main Street Program, since its inception in 1989, has generated:

  • 1,062 new jobs
  • $38 million in private sector reinvestment
  • 241 net business starts, expansions and relocations

Additionally, in 1989, the occupancy rate on the Square, at ground floor level, was 70%; Downtown now has a 98% occupancy rate. Thus, Denton's downtown square today has virtually no vacancies. Upper floors now house many loft apartments. A beautiful streetscape, new streetlights in the style of the original lampposts, a 1999 Great American Main Street award and numerous other awards, all underline Denton's success as a thriving multiuse downtown.

Are you ready to join in and continue the tradition of investing in Downtown? For a listing of available properties in the downtown district, please call 940-349-7732 or email Julie.Glover@cityofdenton.com.