Legislation Introduced to Support Adaptive Reuse of Federal Buildings

The proposed bill would promote the conversion of vacant and underused buildings into affordable housing.

1 minute read

April 15, 2024, 8:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Modern six-story office building in Washington, D.C. formerly occupied by Federal Aviation Administration.

Former Federal Aviation Administration building in Washington, D.C., vacant in 2008. | AgnosticPreachersKid, CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons / Former FAA building

A bill introduced by California Representatives Adam Schiff and Jimmy Gomez would promote the conversion of government-owned buildings into affordable housing.

As Carten Cordell explains in an article for Route Fifty, the proposed legislation, the Government Facilities to Affordable Housing Conversion Act, “would task the Housing and Urban Development Department, General Services Administration and the Office of Management and Budget with identifying vacant or underused federal, state and local government properties that may be suitable for residential conversion.”

The bill, which comes in response to a GAO report that revealed vacancy rates in federal buildings as high as 75 percent, would also expand an existing HUD adaptive reuse program and fund a new grant program for residential conversions.

The bill includes affordability requirements. “Schiff and Gomez’s bill would require that any potential residential projects offer 20% or more of the residential units are occupied by a household with an income that does not exceed 50% of the median income for the area and that 40% are occupied by a household with an income that does not exceed 60% of median income — though some units can be inhabited by households with less than 80% median income.”

Friday, April 5, 2024 in Route Fifty

Ornate, tan stone capitol building with a gold dome roof and low-rise city buildings in the background.

States Are Banning Guaranteed Income Programs

Four states now have laws in place that prevent cities and counties from creating or continuing guaranteed income programs, and several more have tried or are trying.

May 23, 2024 - Bloomberg CityLab

Aerial view of Oceanwide Plaza skyscrapers covered with graffiti tags.

LA’s Abandoned Towers Loom as a “$1.2 Billion Ruin of Global Capital”

Oceanwide Plaza, shuttered mid-construction after its developer filed for bankruptcy, has stood vacant on prime Los Angeles real estate since 2019.

May 21, 2024 - The Architect's Newspaper

Close-up of electric stove range with front burners red-hot.

California Cities Suspend Natural Gas Bans Following Court Ruling

A Ninth Circuit court ruling forced Berkeley to reverse its ban on natural gas in new buildings, prompting other cities to suspend their own efforts to promote all-electric buildings.

May 28, 2024 - East Bay Times

Colorful vacant, boarded-up two-story rowhouses in East Baltimore, Maryland.

States Move to Limit ‘Squatters’ Rights’

A wave of new legislation targets people who reside illegally in properties they don’t own.

21 minutes ago - Smart Cities Dive

BART heavy rail train on elevated track pulling into Concord, CA station with cloudy sky and trees in background.

Bay Area Transit Projects Awarded $18 Million

The funding supports eight ‘near-term’ projects slated for completion within the next one to three years.

May 29 - Contra Costa Herald

Silver UTA On Demand transit van in Utah.

Utah On-Demand Transit Hits 1 Million Rides

The service connects outlying communities with fixed-route transit lines.

May 29 - Utah Transit Authority

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.