September 28, 2022

Turning offices into homes

Axios -  Cities and states across the country are looking to transform vacant office buildings into housing — a solution for both empty downtowns and housing shortages. Commercial districts with little to no residential presence turned into near ghost towns during the pandemic, becoming a blight on the cityscape and a detriment to surviving businesses.

Even though offices are still only half-full in many cities, these types of conversions have yet to really pick up steam. They're expensive, and loads of red tape and zoning laws usually get in the way.

A few big cities are creating new incentives they hope will unleash a wave of housing conversions in the decade ahead.

  • Chicago this week proposed an initiative to repurpose high-vacancy buildings in its downtown financial district into homes, offering tax credits and incentives along with financing tools.
  • In New York City, real estate trade association REBNY estimates that a "conservative" conversion rate of 10% of NYC's lower-tier office buildings could generate approximately 14,000 new residential units.
  • The L.A. City Council is expected to consider an updated ordinance that would provide financial incentives to convert downtown office buildings. A Rand study in L.A. found underutilized commercial properties that could collectively produce 92,000 housing units.

1 comment:

Greg Gerritt said...

It is an idea whose timew has come