Revitalizing Suburban Office Space

Suburban office buildings are also losing tenants, but face some unique challenges compared to their urban counterparts.

1 minute read

February 1, 2024, 8:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Three-story modern suburban office building.

qingwa / Adobe Stock

Suburban office buildings, like their urban counterparts, face higher vacancy rates since the pandemic. While, as Jared Brey explains in Governing, suburban office parks tend to be more isolated and thus less tied to the surrounding economy, their success or failure still has a major impact on their communities and local tax revenue. “Suburbs all over the country are working to redevelop office parks in hopes of heading off abandonment and decay.”

Additionally, the design of many suburban office centers, surrounded and isolated by seas of parking, puts them at a disadvantage. “Even before the pandemic, many suburbs recognized the need to revitalize those spaces, and build connections between office space, housing, public outdoor space and other commercial uses.”

Jurisdictions such as Arlington County, Virginia and Dublin, Ohio are working to support the redevelopment and revitalization of commercial areas through updated regulations that acknowledge changing conditions. “Zoning regulations for office districts currently don’t allow certain types of retail or higher education, for example. Some permitting processes slow things down, requiring developers to lock in certain uses or even specific types of tenants early in the process.”

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