One of the challenges communities face in promoting tourism is empty buildings. When people come to town and see those it leaves a negative image in their minds. I recently read a few articles by Becky McCray at that got me excited about the possibilities of how a community can use those spaces to their advantage.

First, “The Second Largest Paris in the World” is featured in one article about buildings that collapsed leaving it without a roof. The photo above shows that space beautifully filled now with a beer garden called 107 Grand. Several partial “roofs” cover a portion of the space and they use outdoor heaters and coolers as weather dictates throughout the year.

Main Street manager Cheri Bedford took the photo above of the outside of the building where you can see the missing roof which now only adds to the experience especially on a beautiful starry night.

Read more fantastic suggestions for using roofless buildings from Becky and view examples of what other towns are doing at

There are a couple of good articles Becky presents about other things to do to get the ball rolling to use empty buildings. Putting together a tour of the building(s) is one great idea that gets people excited and informed in a hurry and she offers a collection of other ideas ranging from pop-up businesses to art space to co-working opportunities and more.

Small town economic development idea: The Tour of Empty Buildings

What businesses would work in a small town? Filling empty buildings