I just encountered this idea and would love to see this happen in my community as well.
my friend is trying to revive our hometown by using internet. http://f.hatena.ne.jp/Dr-Seton/20101113133932 We can see a lot of abandoned stores with posters saying "tenant wanted". My friend's idea is to post these to online and find tenant and his employee all over the world. This would involve local community as well as community from other locations.
another idea is to invite company which related to local industry, which make local stronger.
anyway, I just found this and will let my friend know your idea. thanks,