DC Issues Draft Adaptive Reuse Regulations

A proposed tax abatement program would promote the conversion of office buildings to housing.

1 minute read

February 9, 2024, 6:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Washington D.C. office buildings with river and stone arched bridge in foreground.

spiritofamerica / Adobe Stock

A new Washington, D.C. tax abatement program will promote the conversion of office buildings into residential units. As Venable’s Zachary G. Williams and Alexaida Collet Echevarría explain, “The program provides a 20-year tax abatement—beginning upon issuance of the certificate of occupancy—as an incentive for property owners to convert all or a portion of their property to residential uses.”

The proposed rules require that a project create at least 10 housing units, 10 percent of which must be affordable. “In addition to the above, property owners must agree to contract with a Certified Business Enterprise for at least 35 percent of the contract dollar volume of construction and operations and execute a First Source Agreement (which prioritizes employment of District residents) for operation of the development project.”

The program is designed to grow the District’s housing stock and utilize office buildings that have lower demand after the pandemic.

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