Upstairs Downtown Speakers & Topics

Speakers & Topics

click on the topic to access the handouts from their presentation.
click on the speakers email address to contact them.

*Click on the view powerpoint link under each topic to view the presentation in an Internet Explorer web browser. Some powerpoints have notes that can be read while viewing the presentation. For the best viewing results please use the web browser Internet Explorer, which can be downloaded for free Internet Explorer. If you have any questions about the information on this website or have difficulty viewing any of the information provided, please contact Anna Margaret Barris by phone or email (see below).

Accessibility Code

Universal accessibility has become an integral part of the planning and development of the built environment. Both federal and state laws regulate this issue and affect the way we build. Frank Heitzman, AIA, is an Oak Park architect who has been a leading advocate for accessibility design and historic preservation. Frank was directly involved in the development of the historic-preservation chapters of the Illinois Accessibility Code. His presentation covered the regulatory basis for accessibility as well as some of the creative technical alternates for building renovation. Frank can be contacted at Heitzman Architects 708-848-8844 or by email

Introduction and Building Assessment

Historic preservation is a method of changing and improving buildings while keeping their history and character intact. Mike Jackson, FAIA, is the Chief Architect of the Preservation Services Division of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency (view building assessment powerpoint) / (view introduction). Using his years of experience in historic preservation, he highlighted how both preservation and development goals are being successfully integrated into upper- story building projects across the state. Mike can be contacted at 217-785-5031 or by email Here are Mike’s most recent building assessment presentation and handouts (view Architectural Assessment Web Link handouts).

Building Codes & Life Safety

Building renovation is the regulatory trigger mechanism for making changes “to bring the building up to code.” A new generation of building codes makes it easier to balance the relative merits of alterations with regard to safety, construction efficiency, and historic preservation. Marilyn Kaplan, a practicing architect in Albany, New York, has been at the forefront of the development of state, national and international rehabilitation-based building codes. She brought her experience and insight into this critical area of the architectural development process, with a focus on the buildings of Main Street. Marilyn can be contacted at Preservation Architecture 518-459-6460 or by email

Energy Conservation

Energy-efficiency improvements are an integral part of any building renovation. Dr. Brian Deal is a Professor of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Illinois and the Director of the Smart Energy Design Assistance Center, which is a part of the School of Architecture-Building Research Council at the University of Illinois. He illustrated how energy efficiency can be integrated into building renovation, with a special emphasis on small commercial buildings (view Deal Energy powerpoint). Brian can be contacted at The Smart Energy Design Assistance Center at the University of Illinois 1-800-214-7954 or by email

Feasibility Studies & Pro-Formas

Downtown revitalization in Rock Island has been especially successful in filling previously vacant upper-floors with housing units – for all income levels. New condos and workforce housing constitute equal parts of the mix, requiring a variety of different financial tools to “make the numbers work.” Dan Carmody, President of Renaissance Rock Island, has been instrumental in this effort. In addition to his local work, he is active with Illinois Main Street and is a national board member of the International Downtown Association. Currently, Dan is the president of the Eastern Market Corporation in Detroit Michigan and can be reached at Here are Dan’s most recent presentation (view Carmody powerpoint) and handouts (view Carmody Handout).


There is a lot of misinformation about insuring historic commercial buildings. Tom Grojean, a realtor and independent insurance agent from Jacksonville, IL, addressed any questions about insuring Main Street buildings. Tom can be contacted at Grojean Realty and Insurance Agency, INC. 1-888-GROJEAN or by email

Community Incentives

The City of Rock Island has a downtown Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district to assist in community revitalization. Alan Carmen is the Planning and Redevelopment Administrator for the City of Rock Island, which has created special incentives to encourage the redevelopment of vacant upper stories. Details of Rock Island’s program were presented, as well as those of similar programs in other Illinois communities. Alan can be contacted at 309-732-2900 or by email
Rick Daley, the Construction Officer for the City of Rock Island, discussed case studies that utilized the city’s incentives . Rick can be contacted at 309-732-2900 or by email

Tax Incentives

Tax-related incentives can play an important role in financing building rehabilitations. Carol J. Dyson, AIA, an architect with the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, has worked with both the federal income-tax and the state property-tax incentive programs. She discussed the benefits and requirements of both historic preservation and accessibility incentives and how they have been successfully used in upper-story rehabilitations. Carol can be contacted at 217-524-0276 or by email
Steve Arbuthnot, Executive Director and Vice President of National City Bank’s Community Development Corporation, has worked with historic tax-credit projects large and small. He discussed the financial aspects of tax credits and their integration into a sound financing plan. Steve can be contacted at 217-753-7130 or by email

Case Studies

With challenging code issues and varied building conditions, redeveloping the upper floors of Main Street buildings into housing can sometimes seem like an impossible task. Yet countless buildings in Illinois have been successfully rehabilitated. Anna Margaret Barris, of Illinois Main Street and the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, specializes in upper-floor redevelopment. She examined how some of these successful projects transpired and will include a variety of uses, budgets and programs. Anna Margaret can be contacted at 217-782-7534 or by email Here is Anna Margaret’s most recent presentation on Codes, Cost and Case studies (view Codes and Cost powerpoint), the building specific The Case for Reuse (view Reuse powerpoint), a general code issue outline (view Upstairs Downtown handout), and the latest Case Study for 112-114 North Walnut.

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Speakers & Topics

Case Studies

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