Tech Sheet Now Available to Help Localities Considering Upper Story Housing in Historic Downtowns

On behalf of the Virginia Main Street (VMS) program, Frazier Associates has created a tech sheet for localities across the state to utilize when considering the development of upper stories in their respective historic downtowns, helping communities explore the inherent parameters and various factors involved throughout the process.

Commonly, historic downtowns are viewed as social, commercial and cultural centers where residents and visitors alike can enjoy shopping, dining and entertainment. But, they’ve also become a more desirable place to live, and many downtowns possess or have the potential for a diversity of housing stock, which supports local businesses and bolsters private and public investment. The Upper Story Residential Tech Sheet covers eight main areas of focus:

  • Typical Historic Downtown Commercial Buildings
  • Zoning Essentials
  • Building Code Essentials
  • Underlying Economic Drivers
  • Historic Designation and Historic Tax Credits
  • Building Owners
  • Potential Developers
  • Construction Costs / Potential Rates

Sample projects ranging from one unit to multi-unit examples, are spotlighted to offer more insights as to the type of projects that developers have undertaken in small and large communities across Virginia.

“There are many factors that affect developing upper stories of historic downtown commercial buildings into housing, but more and more, this type of redevelopment is happening in both large and small downtown areas. The goal of this tech sheet is to provide some tools to encourage more of these projects in Virginia’s historic downtowns.” – Kathy Frazier, Co-Founder & Principal, Frazier Associates

Apart from the eight areas of focus, a Building Code Appendix has also been included, offering communities more details on the current building code and how it may apply to upper story housing projects.