How to make convincing city buildings?

I’ve been meaning to make a map set in the streets of some large city’s downtown for a while, but I’m not sure where to start. Namely, I don’t know what I should do for the street level buildings. I can make the upper parts of the buildings lining the street just fine using HL2 building textures, but I’m not sure what I should be doing for the actual storefront windows and stuff. FYI I don’t intend on making the buildings enterable, so you don’t need to worry about that.

Here’s what I have in mind:

So a few things you should know is, when they have them ladders above the stores, that’s the back of the appartment, also when it comes to making shops, you should have leaflets, stands and awnings.

Alright, I’ll keep that in mind. What should I do for the actual storefront windows?

ledges. go ape shit with ledges to give them some depth.

Make custom textures for the Windows, they tend to have lots of posters, LED open/closed signs, put some cracks on some Windows, and do make an interior, that looks like you can go in their but well you can’t, it will add depth, put a few shelves in and counter.

Lots of decals and overlays! This is how higher-end mappers make their environments more convincing!

Contrast of lighting, spend time making each light unique to it’s location

Hey, I’ve been on that street. Anyway make sure to research the location your creating, or if it’s from the depths of your imagination try to choose an architecture style and remain consistent. Also, trash, manhole covers, sewer grates, post boxes, posters, crosswalks. Slather your map in the stuff like a cake covered in frosting. Cars, cars galore as well. Also the wider your streets the shorter the buildings. Wide streets mean thoroughfares, which usually go through industrial or low end residential. There are commercial thoroughfares, but those are almost always two lanes and one-way only with extremely dense parking. Also, shops ALWAYS take the bottom floor of commercial areas. If it’s an older building then the rest is usually expensive shitty apartments. More modern buildings are usually all commercial on all floors, they also have street level display windows.