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The Resurgence of Office to Residential Conversions

by | Oct 5, 2016 | Real Estate Law


What is the office to residential conversion? Where did it come from? Where has it been? And why is it “on its way back?” Let’s find out.

First and foremost, it’s an interesting trend. You’ll find lovers of the urban life that are chattering about it incessantly in recent publications. Its resurgence started on the east coast development market with several office buildings being converted into residential projects (thus the name of the housing trend – office to residential conversion). But it didn’t stop there. This trend has been evolving quickly. In addition to offices being renovated into residential buildings, developers are also turning to commercially zoned areas for residential development. In some cases the land is already occupied by offices that will be torn down, but in other instances the land was never developed for commercial use.

Some cite a suburban office market slowdown as the inspiration for the office to residential conversion trend. It’s the perfect solution to limitations on urban housing – the feel of urban housing in the suburbs, anyone? In addition to the slowdown in the suburban office market, we’ve seen a simultaneous rush of demand for multifamily rental housing. It’s the perfect solution to both situations.

Others point at a lack of new jobs in the business and professional sectors and/ore stagnant growth in the federal job market.

Types of Popular Office to Residential Projects:

  • Suburban office buildings converted to multifamily housing projects.
  • Micro-unit communities developed in areas previously devoted to office parks.
  • Vacant buildings/warehouses converted to hip, urban living housing.
  • Former offices converted to include a combination of offices and condos.

The trend caters very well to the increasing number of young renters and coalesces perfectly in areas where job growth has slowed or become stagnant – leaving developers with new options for sectors typically devoted to business/office buildings.

While office to residential trend is gaining momentum, it’s not a free for all. Conversions have to meet a number of criteria in order to be a viable project, the most important of which is building location. Not every office park with high vacancy rates makes sense for a residential conversion. Buildings or projects in close proximity to nightlife, theaters, grocery stores, and schools often make good options for conversion.

If you still have questions or simply want more information on what is required for an office to residential conversion project, please get in touch with the experienced attorneys at the Law Office of the Law Office of Ernesto Aldover as soon as possible.