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Chicago Twin Brothers Use Family to Build Successful Real Estate Business, Make History With TV

Twin brothers from Chicago are the model of Black excellence thanks to a strong upbringing.

Identical twins Anthony and Anton Downing from the southside of Chicago always spent their summers in the Bahamas, where their mom, Michelle Darville Downing was born and raised. She was a person who owned homes herself and instilled the same importance in her sons.

“I think it started with our parents on both sides, having parents who own property,” Anthony Downing said to Black Enterprise. “They owned their own homes and they gave us a tradition that when we get out of college we should own our homes too.”

The Chicago twins took that advice and hit it out the ballpark, eventually becoming firefighters and real estate investors. The brothers are also graduates of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

When working as Chicago firefighters in 2013, the twins took note of the necessity for development in their own community before purchasing and renovating single-family homes and apartment buildings in Chicago, turning this development into a business success.

And the brothers give their mother the credit thanks to their trips.

“When we would go down there and mother would always take us out into this less populated neighborhood and we’d see this vacant land with coconut trees and goats and chickens and bush growing and our mother would say, 'This is your land, I fully expect for you to come back here and build on it.'”

And that’s what happened. When COVID-19 hit, the Chicago natives sold their Chicago properties, and returned to the Bahamas, where they began renovating homes.

Thanks to their success, in 2019 the brotherly tandem became the first Black men to achieve their own pilot, Double Down, on HGTV — a show that followed the two as they renovated apartments in Chicago.

“The production company that we worked with to film the show, made us aware that we would be their first and making history is something very important to us,” Anton Downing said to

Black Enterprise.

Paying it forward, the Downing brothers used their knowledge to assist African Americans in buying homes and building wealth. They are also carving out paths to entertainment and empowering communities.

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