Office Conversions More Popular Than Ever

The adaptive reuse of non-residential buildings has soared in recent years as demand for office space drops and the housing shortage deepens.

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November 21, 2022, 11:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Blueish tinged shot looking up at modern glass office buildings

QinJin / Office buildings

With demand for office space remaining low, office-to-apartment conversions continue to lead the adaptive reuse trend at 28 percent of projects, writes Mary Salmonsen in Smart Cities Dive. Hotels are the second largest source of residential conversions at 22 percent. 

“Apartment conversions have risen 25% in the two years since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, with 28,000 new units on the market converted from other property types, according to a report from RentCafe.” Of these, more than 11,000 units are in former office spaces, a growth of 40 percent between 2020 and 2021. According to the RentCafe report, “Larger office buildings in abandoned central business districts are better suited to conversion than the often-smaller office complexes distributed around the suburbs.”

Washington, D.C. leads the trend with 5.6 percent of the nation’s total adaptive reuse projects. “Philadelphia gained 1,552 converted units during this period, while Chicago converted older buildings into 1,139 new apartments.” This year, “Los Angeles is leading the nation in adaptive reuse construction for the first half of 2022 with 1,242 new deliveries — already the best year for adaptive reuse in the city’s history — and another 4,130 units in the construction pipeline.”

Thursday, November 17, 2022 in Smart Cities Dive

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