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Office to Residential Conversions

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Fall 2023   


Office to Residential Conversions


      • Interest in office-to-residential adaptive reuse has grown as office vacancies have increased and housing remains in short supply in many parts of the country.
      • Various zoning, logistical, and financial challenges make office-to-residential conversions difficult, but policy changes, architectural innovations, and financial incentives can increase the likelihood of such adaptive reuse.
      • Office-to-residential conversions alone will not fix the many problems that downtown areas face, but they can contribute to broader investments and strategies to revitalize downtown economies.

As the COVID-19 pandemic caused teleworking to surge and subsequent adjustments to work patterns led to rising office vacancy rates in downtown areas nationwide, many communities have expressed growing interest in office-to-residential conversions, including both historic and modern properties. Office-to-residential conversions are both logistically and financially challenging; as a result, governments may need to provide financial incentives or relax zoning and building code requirements to make these conversions financially feasible. Brookings Institution scholar Tracy Hadden Loh cautions, "Office-to-residential conversion alone cannot solve either the current glut of office space that exists in some regional office markets or the housing crisis." Loh adds, however, that "office-to-housing conversion is a historic preservation and placemaking strategy that can contribute to the revitalization of places where office is a very dominant part of the land use mix."1 Such revitalization can be part of broader efforts to relieve the pressures of declining office demand, reduced municipal tax revenue, and insufficient housing supply, and HUD programs can support these local efforts.

Adaptive Reuse

The United States has a long history of turning to adaptive reuse as a response to changing demands.2 A recent report by researchers at the Terner Center for Housing Innovation identifies the defining characteristics of adaptive reuse as "(1) existence of a structure to be reused, (2) functional and/or economic obsolescence of the existing building, (3) change of use, and (4) economic viability of the new project."3 Various types of structures that have fallen into obsolescence at different times and places, including hotels, retail, schools, churches, warehouses, and factories, have been converted successfully to residential use.4 Owners may also pursue adaptive reuse because market conditions or expectations favor alternative uses for their properties. Currently, increases in office vacancies and uncertainty about future trends in telework and office use are prompting private and public stakeholders to consider the conversion and reuse of commercial office buildings.

A tall multistory glass covered building.
In Philadelphia, the vacant offices of Franklin Tower became a mix of retail, apartments, and amenities. Gensler and Robert Deitchler

Although economic considerations are the primary forces driving the adaptive reuse of commercial properties, adaptive reuse offers additional benefits. For example, adaptive reuse can support sustainability by reducing demolition waste and emissions related to new construction.5 As Emil Malizia, professor of city and regional planning at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, writes, "Conversion preserves the carbon that is embodied in an existing building’s structure, and less energy and fewer carbon-intensive building materials are needed than for most new construction."6 In some cases, however, making adaptive retrofits as energy efficient as new construction can be difficult.7 Sometimes the various costs entailed in converting particular buildings in particular contexts exceed the cost of demolition and new construction; in other cases, however, conversion can be less expensive. Fred D. Burkhardt, president and chief executive officer of Geneva Analytics, reports that building rehabilitation costs an estimated "16 percent less in construction costs and 18 percent less in construction time than new construction."8

Adaptive reuse can also promote a more diverse mix of uses in an area. In localities where uses traditionally have been commercial, conversions to housing and other uses such as retail and amenities can promote overall economic vitality.9 Areas dominated by office use tend to have little economic activity on evenings, weekends, and holidays. The addition of housing brings in a population of consumers to support a 24/7 economy.10 Increased residential use also strengthens demand for offices and allows people to live near job centers.11

Adaptive Reuse of Office Buildings

The precipitous increase in office vacancies in many city downtowns as employers and employees adjust to new work patterns is creating several problems: declining demand and value for commercial properties, wider economic impacts for financial institutions and investors, and declining municipal revenues. According to Kastle System’s average of the top 10 markets, office occupancy rates declined from 95 percent at the end of February 2020 to 10 percent at the end of March 2020, when COVID-19 lockdowns went into effect, rebounding only to 47 percent by the end of November 2022 and 50.3 percent at the start of June 2023.12 In Manhattan, the office vacancy rate doubled to 20 percent in the third quarter of 2022 compared with the rate before the pandemic.13 In Washington, D.C., the office occupancy rate fell to 46 percent in January 2023.14 As of June 2023, office vacancies were also high in smaller markets such as Denver (20.4%), Seattle (20.1%), Phoenix (18.8%), and Atlanta (19.4%).15

These drops in rental income, demand, and commercial property values hinder building owners, who continue to owe property taxes and must repay loans. Office loan delinquencies have risen from 1.63 percent in May 2022 to 4.02 percent in May 2023.16 The commercial real estate research firm Trepp estimates that $270 billion in commercial loan payments are due in 2023.17 In addition to the peril owners face if they cannot make payments and their delinquencies become defaults, lenders and investors in securities backed by the loans, including pension funds, may experience broader economic impacts.18 Lenders will have significant incentives to renegotiate terms and avoid default and partially avoid the worst outcomes.19

Rising office vacancy rates are also straining municipal budgets as commercial property values and downtown economic activity decline. Taxes levied on the assessed value of commercial properties contribute approximately 20 to 40 percent toward local tax revenues.20 Some cities such as Detroit; Washington, D.C.; and Chicago that rely heavily on commercial property taxes will experience considerable pressure to cut services, raise taxes, or both.21 Beyond the reductions in property tax revenues, municipalities also lose out on sales taxes generated by the service and retail sectors that serve office workers, such as food and custodial services.

Many of the same cities that have experienced increases in office vacancy rates also have severe housing shortages. More than 20 million U.S. renter households were housing cost burdened in 2019.22 Based on 2019 data, more than 50 percent of renters earning up to 100 percent of the area median income in every one of the 30 most populous cities paid more than 30 percent of their income on housing expenses.23 Some downtown areas have very little housing or are not even zoned for residential use, and housing that is closest to or within downtown areas is often the most expensive.24 Many downtowns, therefore, lack the diversity of uses to weather a sharp decline in demand for one type of use or that sustain economic vitality. Brookings Institution researchers Tracy Hadden Loh, Egon Terplan, and D.W. Rowlands argue that these circumstances do not mean that downtowns have too many offices; rather, they have "too little of everything else."25

Office-to-residential conversion offers a potential partial solution to these problems by returning these properties to productive use and drawing people and economic activity into downtown areas. "That’s the big idea," says DC Policy Center’s Yesim Sayin. "You have one type of use in a building, offices, that is in low demand, and another kind of use, housing, that is in high demand, and you’ve got the building — it makes a lot of sense."26 Although Sayin points out the many potential complications of conversions as well as the reasons why a conversion might not make sense in a given context, she notes that conversions have been performed successfully for decades.27 According to data from Yardi Matrix, conversions of all types of properties yielded 2,002 apartments in the 1950s, 3,290 in the 1960s, 15,494 in the 1970s, and 32,190 in the 1980s before dipping to 25,010 in the 1990s. Conversions produced 63,909 apartments in the 2000s and 96,544 in the 2010s.28 The pace of adaptive reuse apartment conversions has increased in recent years, with 11,090 apartments added in the 2020 to 2021 period compared with 7,762 apartments added in the 2018 to 2019 period. As of December 2022, 77,000 adaptive reuse apartments were in the conversion process. Between 2020 and 2021, office buildings have been the dominant source of buildings converted to residential use, at 40 percent, with factories, hotels, and warehouses trailing.29 Several cities, including Calgary; New York; Denver; San Francisco; and Washington, D.C., have undertaken or are conducting feasibility studies to identify the most appropriate office properties for conversion.30 The city-funded nonprofit Calgary Economic Development teamed with the architecture, design, and planning firm Gensler to create a scorecard to rate the feasibility of converting buildings based on factors such as floor plate size, ceiling heights, parking, and transit access. Paired with a cost model, the scorecard helped the city identify the best candidates for conversion. As of June 2022, the city was providing funding to support 3 conversion projects in its downtown, and approximately 10 additional buildings have been identified for potential conversion.31

Recent research finds that "15% of office buildings in the commercial districts of the 105 largest cities in the U.S. are physically suitable for conversion," and, after considering other factors such as share of tenants, 11 percent of properties are suitable conversion candidates. The study’s authors, Arpit Gupta, Candy Martinez, and Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh, further find that such conversions would be financially feasible if the buildings are sold at new fair market prices and with consideration of conversion to green apartments and related valuation and tax implications; however, they conclude that policy interventions might be needed to incentivize owners to sell at those prices.32

Interior of a two-story high room with walls of glass and seating areas.
The large floorplates common in modern office buildings can pose challenging but not insurmountable obstacles to conversion. Gensler and Robert Deitchler

Office-to-residential conversions alone will not solve the housing crisis, but they can contribute to a more comprehensive approach. Loh, Terplan, and Rowlands argue that "office conversion is a very pricey way to add just a fraction of the housing we need."33 Although local contexts will shape the specifics of strategies to address housing shortages, general approaches apply broadly.34 The Biden-Harris Administration’s Housing Supply Action Plan, for example, highlights zoning reform to reduce regulatory barriers and investment in the preservation and construction of affordable housing.35

Challenges for Office-to-Residential Conversions

Office-to-residential conversions will occur only when, where, and to the extent that they make sense. A combination of legal, logistical, and financial challenges threatens the sensibility and profitability of conversions, severely limiting the number of buildings suitable for conversion. Jeffrey Havsy of Moody’s Analytics explains that you "need the right physical layout, with smaller floor plates," being ideal; ultimately, he says, "It has to work financially. Rent for the apartments has to justify the costs — the cost of moving existing tenants out, the foregone office rent, and paying for the conversion."36

Zoning and code challenges. At the most basic level, office-to-residential conversions require that buildings be zoned for residential use. Additional zoning considerations that can affect the cost and feasibility of conversions include allowing residential use on the ground floor, parking requirements, open space requirements, and setbacks (which often are larger for residential properties than for commercial ones).37 Conversions might also encounter costly problems related to code requirements. Building codes typically require bedrooms to have windows to provide natural light and air, but space near exterior walls might be limited.38 Requirements that unit front doors be located within 100 feet of a staircase might also present challenges, because most office buildings have only a single, centered staircase.39 Older buildings that might have more conversion-friendly floor plates might also have features that do not comport to modern building codes, such as fire and seismic requirements.40 A June 2023 survey of "architects, builders, and industry professionals" by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce found that 46 percent of respondents reported that zoning or permitting rules are a barrier to office conversions.41

Logistical challenges. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce survey also found that 47 percent of respondents indicated that building layouts posed a barrier to conversions.42 Many modern office buildings have large, deep floor plates, with much of each floor’s square footage far from exterior walls and windows that provide natural light. These buildings also are likely to have centralized plumbing and mechanics that are not designed to reach several individual units.43 In some cases, developers can cut out the center for a courtyard to increase exterior access, but in other cases doing so would be too costly or would affect the structural integrity of the building.44 For these reasons, older offices may be better suited for conversion, but they may also be in shorter supply.45 Experience from Manhattan after September 11, 2001, shows that preWorld War II buildings with smaller floor plates were the most likely candidates for conversion. However, some cities that want to promote conversions have only a small percentage of available prewar buildings.46

Financial challenges. Various financial considerations can make conversions less attractive or even completely unfeasible. For a potential conversion to make financial sense, the projected residential rents need to be high enough to justify forgoing office rents, which typically are higher than residential rents per square foot, and cover the expense of the conversion.47 Several uncertainties complicate this calculation. No one is certain how office usage trends may change over the next several years. Rental prices are adjusting. Some tenants are seeking to improve the quality of their office space (a "flight to quality" office space with amenities to attract workers back to offices), and some are downsizing but not leaving entirely. For example, a September 2022 survey by the Partnership for New York City found that 22 percent of companies in the city intended to reduce their use of office space, and 20 percent said they intended to increase their use of office space.48 During past vacancy spikes, commercial property owners have been most inclined to seek new tenants and wait for market conditions to improve, particularly in situations where selling their properties would result in a loss.49 Developers considering potential residential rental income may project a need to construct luxury apartments, but the demand for those units may not exist.50 Available amenities tend to drive demand for a given area, and an area that has been long dominated by office use might have little to offer residents on nights or weekends or, Sayin notes, necessities such as a grocery store.51

A four-story office building.
Smaller office buildings are especially amenable to conversion.

Other cost considerations include waiting out or buying out the leases of remaining residents because even as office vacancies have increased rapidly, buildings rarely become fully vacant.52 In addition, overcoming logistical challenges can be an expensive proposition. Hilde Remøy and Theo van der Voordt write, "Usually, building characteristics do not make conversion impossible, but can influence the financial feasibility substantially." Changes in a building’s façade or shape can be especially costly.53

All these challenges considerably narrow the number of feasible candidates for conversion. An analysis of 300 office properties in North America by Gensler found that after taking into consideration "[c]ontext, building form, location, floor plate size and several other factors," only 30 percent were well positioned for conversion.54

The factors affecting the feasibility of conversions are not static. Havsy notes that as the architects, developers, and lenders involved in conversions continue to learn more about them, they may expand the set of properties for which conversion is logistically and financially possible. Even the daunting challenge of a large floor plate is not insurmountable. Architects designed a cutout through 23 floors of an office building at 180 Water Street in New York City that enabled the conversion of the 457,000-square-foot building into 580 apartments.55 Successful adaptations like 180 Water Street demonstrate what is possible and build the knowledge base for subsequent projects.

Market considerations are also evolving in ways that will affect owners’ calculations. A compounding effect may occur as successful conversions begin altering the mix of uses in an area and amenities increase, causing residential demand to grow. At the same time, successful conversions that reduce the supply of office space could increase the demand for the area’s remaining office space. Finally, policy changes can reduce barriers to — and offer incentives for — conversions to make them more viable.

Policy Responses

Loh, Terplan, and Rowlands note that it is an open question whether the private sector must adjust to changing circumstances or whether the public sector should intervene to some degree to incentivize conversions. They write that "the public interest in conversion and the potential beneficiaries must be clearly defined in order to justify any public financial support." They also caution that governments that act too hastily could "inadvertently subsidize the wrong behavior."56 Furthermore, the conditions affecting this calculation vary from market to market. For example, an analysis by the Citizens Budget Commission concludes that current market conditions in New York City might not require tax incentives to spur conversions to market-rate residential units, but such incentives likely are needed to promote mixed-income conversions.57 Havsy concurs, saying, "[T]here’s a need for affordable housing, but that’s not what this solves. Rarely are these conversions going to be affordable housing; the cost is much too high."58 Local policymakers will have to weigh these considerations to determine how and when they might intervene. Reductions in municipal revenue, particularly in cities that have relied more heavily on commercial property taxes, may pressure local governments to act. Several cities already have taken measures (in some cases dating back well before the COVID-19 pandemic) to facilitate and incentivize office-to-residential conversions.

Regulatory flexibility. A first step could be to reduce regulatory barriers that outright prohibit conversions or make them prohibitively costly. Loh suggests to policymakers, "Before throwing money at the problem, try getting out of the way."59 Zoning changes may be needed, for example, to allow conversions of office buildings located in commercial zones that do not allow residential uses.60 Ideally for the developer, the zoning would allow residential development as a by-right use that does not require an application or discretionary review process.61 Garvin and Madden advise that zoning regulations allow use conversions within the same envelope, lot and unit size requirements, and setbacks. They also suggest that localities ensure flexibility so that use changes or the use change threshold (for example, applying certain development standards if a structure is more than 50% changed) do not trigger nonessential but prohibitive requirements, such as parking, landscape, and open space requirements.62 New York City’s Office Adaptive Reuse Task Force (OARTF) recommends reevaluating prohibitions on new residential use in zoning districts. The task force also suggests allowing developers to convert offices to different forms of housing, including supportive housing and dormitories.63

Building codes that might present logistically or financially prohibitive challenges can be revised or waived. For example, New York City’s OARTF has recommended "flexible regulations" for all office buildings constructed before 1991, not just buildings in certain large business districts.64 Other changes such as streamlined reviews, reduced or waived fees, and reduced or waived parking requirements can also incentivize conversions.65 Localities could also relax requirements such as a mandate for bedroom windows, which could be especially helpful for allowing the conversion of more recently constructed office buildings.66

A multistory building undergoing renovation located on the corner of two streets.
Cities such as Washington, D.C. are seeking to facilitate office-to-residential conversions to address increasing office vacancies and a shortage of housing.

Tax abatement and credits. Should local policymakers decide to intervene with subsidies, property tax abatement and tax credits are among the most common options to incentivize conversions. As noted above, financial incentives may be necessary to spur conversions with affordability components. Havsy suggests that property tax abatements are the best option because they do not require municipalities to spend money upfront, and the future tax revenue they would have to forgo is less than the revenue they would lose from an unconverted building whose value has significantly declined.67 Philadelphia has used a property tax abatement program to encourage adaptive reuse since 1997.68 Recent changes that adjust the general abatement program to phase down benefits over time have exempted conversions to residential use so that they retain a 10-year abatement.69 Building on the work of the Office-to-Affordable-Housing Taskforce, which was first convened before the pandemic, policymakers in Washington, D.C. are considering expanding an existing property tax incentive for commercial to residential conversions in a program called Housing in Downtown.70 In Kansas City, the greater ease of converting older buildings has dovetailed with the Missouri historic tax credit program to help finance conversions, such as that of a historic federal courthouse into Courthouse Lofts.71 Similarly, in Dallas, a state historic tax credit adopted in the early 2000s has helped facilitate office-to-residential conversions.72 Gupta, Martinez, and Van Nieuwerburgh suggest the potential of combining office conversions with programs supporting environmentally sustainable development, including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s Green Bonds program as well as certain provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act such as energy-efficiency rebates.73

Policy interventions often introduce internal tension. Sayin notes that "on the one hand, the government is trying to make conversions cheaper, and on the other hand the requirements that come along with receiving government money, like local hiring and affordability requirements, can make it more expensive." Local policymakers have to decide not only whether to intervene but also — if they do — how much public investment to make and what public benefits to require. If policymakers require too little from developers in return for their investment, they may end up subsidizing economic activity that would have happened on its own without public investment; if they require too much, private actors might decide not to pursue conversions at all.

Past Efforts

Although office vacancy trends shifted suddenly and dramatically at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, neither office vacancies nor adaptive reuse office-to-residential conversions are new phenomena. Research on past conversions can offer insights for policymakers today.

In the early 1990s, as part of the Lower Manhattan Revitalization Plan, New York City implemented a property tax incentive program, 421-g, to encourage office conversions. The Citizens Budget Commission studied the program to draw lessons from it. The 421-g incentive was used in conversions that created 12,865 units at a cost of $1.2 billion ($92,000 per unit). Another 17,000 units were converted or built without the incentive, supporting the conclusion that at least some of the conversions would have occurred without the incentive. In addition, conversions continued after the program expired, although at a slower pace. Most projects taking advantage of the 421-g program — 90 percent of the buildings and 61 percent of the converted space — involved buildings constructed before 1945.74

The Los Angeles Adaptive Reuse Program, adopted in 1999, has contributed to conversions accounting for 12,000 units in the city’s downtown.75 Only 16 percent of the units created, however, have been affordable.76 Building on this experience, and with an eye toward boosting the city’s housing supply, Los Angeles City Planning has proposed an expansion of the adaptive reuse ordinance to apply citywide and to include more recently built buildings (the original program applied only to buildings completed before 1974). The proposed update would facilitate conversions through faster, by-right approvals for conversions of buildings 15 years and older rather than defining eligibility by a fixed date.77

An aerial view of lower Manhattan.
New York City implemented a property tax incentive program in the early 1990s to encourage office conversions as part of its plan to revitalize Lower Manhattan.

The city of Cleveland has been a leader in creating apartments through adaptive reuse, with 5,356 units created in 36 buildings since the 1970s. Of these, 1,873 units and 13 buildings were former office buildings. The Rust Belt city has a high share of older buildings with small floor plates that are more amenable to residential conversions.78 The former home of a Cleveland newspaper, the 15-story Leader Building, was built in 1913 and is now a mix of apartments and offices.

HUD and Other Federal Efforts

Although no current federal program is devoted explicitly to encouraging office-to-residential adaptive reuse, several existing HUD funding streams, including Section 108, Section 221(d)(4), Section 220, and the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, can support conversions. HUD’s Section 108 Loan Guarantee Program, which provides low-cost financing for development projects, could be applied to office conversions.79 Similarly, HUD’s Section 221(d)(4) program provides mortgage insurance for the substantial rehabilitation of multifamily rental or cooperative housing for moderate-income families and elderly and disabled households, and HUD’s Section 220 program provides mortgage insurance for the substantial rehabilitation of rental housing in areas that local governments have selected for revitalization.80 Grants from the CDBG program have built-in flexibility to be used for various community projects that could include conversions.81 The Millenia Companies, for example, is using Section 108 guaranteed funds to help rehabilitate the historic Huntington Building in Cleveland for housing, commercial, retail, and museum uses, with at least half of the housing units reserved for low- and moderate-income households.82 The project also uses a $40 million tax credit award through Ohio’s Transformational Mixed-Use Development Program and historic preservation tax credits, among other sources of financing.83

Havsy suggests that federal policymakers can help research and highlight promising practices and successes in conversions. He adds that guidance on environmental impacts could be helpful in understanding the advantages of conversions, such as avoiding demolition and reducing new, carbon-intensive concrete construction.84 Loh says, "I believe there is a need for a new tax credit — perhaps more than one — tailored to different elements of the problem that can promote flexibility and resilience in the built environment and [get] the most out of our existing infrastructure through adaptive reuse."85 Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow has proposed legislation specifically designed to promote office-to-residential conversions with affordable housing components. Stabenow’s Revitalizing Downtowns Act would allow developers a tax credit of up to 20 percent of the cost of an office-to-residential conversion that reserves 20 percent or more of its units for residents earning no more than 80 percent of the area median income.86

A Partial, Promising Solution

"Instead of latching on to office-to-housing conversion as a one-size-fits-all solution to multiple difficult problems," says Loh, "it is important that downtowns, cities, and regions invest in workforce and economic development in office-using sectors of the economy, siting/locating diverse destinations downtown (such as entertainment, arts, health care, retail, sports, and education) and aligning public policy and spending on public safety, governance, transportation, and placemaking on evidence-based strategies that we know work and deliver a return."87 Office-to-residential conversions can play a role in such a transformation, but they need to be joined with a broader set of strategies and investments. Sayin notes that even in areas where conversions have been most successful, neighborhood transformation, as with Wall Street, takes time.88 Local and federal policymakers must determine whether to intervene to facilitate office-to-residential conversions and, if so, which strategies and policies to adopt. When done well, these conversions offer numerous benefits — replacing a low-demand use with a high-demand use, boosting municipal revenue, increasing the diversity of uses in a given area, reducing demolition waste, and reusing existing construction instead of engaging in new construction and its associated environmental costs. The good news, says Havsy, is that "[p]eople are getting better at this, and we are making big gains on the cost side. Buildings that might not have been feasible 5 years ago are now able to be converted. We’re learning new things every day."89

    1. Email correspondence with Tracy Hadden Loh, 21 June 2023.
    2. Alexandra Ciuntu. 2020. "Yesterday's Factories, Today's Apartments: Adaptive Reuse Projects at All-Time High in the U.S." RentCafe, 30 September.
    3. David Garcia and Elliot Kwon. 2021. "Adaptive Reuse Challenges and Opportunities in California," Terner Center.
    4. Emil Malizia. 2022. "New Uses for Office Buildings: Life Science, Medical and Multifamily Conversions," NAIOP Research Foundation.
    5. Garcia and Kwon; Peter A. Bullen and Peter E. D. Love. 2009. "Residential regeneration and adaptive reuse: learning from the experiences of Los Angeles," Structural Survey 27:5.
    6. Malizia.
    7. Anita Kramer, Nolan Eyre, and Maorgan Maloney. 2023. Behind the Façade: The Feasibility of Converting Commercial Real Estate to Multifamily. Washington, DC: Urban Land Institute.
    8. Fred D. Burkhardt. 2017. "Embracing Adaptive Reuse for Corporate Real Estate," Trade and Industry Development.
    9. Tracy Hadden Loh, Egon Terplan, and DW Rowlands. 2023. "Myths about converting offices into housing — and what can really revitalize downtowns," The Brookings Institution.
    10. Jon Gorey. 2023. "As Cities Consider Turning Offices into Apartments, Calgary Has Some Advice," Lincoln Land Institute of Land Policy, 17 February. Accessed 20 July 2023.
    11. Loh et al.
    12. Arpit Gupta, Vrinda Mittal, and Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh. 2023. "Work From Home And the Office Real Estate Apocalypse"; Kastle. 2023. "Getting America Back to Work." Accessed 14 June 2023.
    13. Office Adaptive Reuse Task Force. 2023. "New York City Office Adaptive Reuse Study," 10.
    14. Eliza Relman. 2023. "DC Mayor Muriel Bowser wants to expand tax breaks for developers turning empty downtown offices into much-needed housing," Business Insider.
    15. Evelyn Jozsa. 2023. "U.S. Office Sales Total $14.8B Halfway Through 2023," Commercial Edge, 19 July. Accessed 20 July 2023.
    16. Manus Clancy. 2023. "CMBS Delinquency Rate ShootsUp in May 2023 – Biggest Jump Since June 2020 Overall Rate Hits 14-Month High," TreppWire.
    17. Caroline O'Donovan. 2023. "Workers want to stay remote, prompting an office real estate crisis," The Washington Post.
    18. Matt Phillips. 2023. "Office real estate is getting kind of ugly." Axios Markets, 29 March; Gupta et al.
    19. O'Donovan.
    20. Phillips.
    21. Loh et al.
    22. Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. 2022. "America's Rental Housing, 2022," 4.
    23. Kim Betancourt, Stephen Gardner, and Mark Palim. 2022. "The U.S. Housing Shortage from a Local Perspective." Fannie Mae, 8.
    24. Elizabeth Garvin and Mary Madden. 2022. "Zoning to Promote Office-to-Housing Conversions," Zoning Practice4. Sam Henly. 2018. "The 9-to-5 Compromise: What We Save by Moving 15 Minutes Farther From Work," Zillow.
    25. Loh et al., Egon Terplan, and DW Rowlands. 2023. "Myths about converting offices into housing — and what can really revitalize downtowns," The Brookings Institution.
    26. Interview with Yesim Sayin, 13 June 2023.
    27. Ibid.
    28. Ciuntu.
    29. Andrea Neculae. 2022. "Adaptive Reuse Apartments Go Up 25% from Pre-Pandemic Numbers," RentCafe.
    30. Esteban L. Hernandez. 2023. "Denver's downtown office conversion study underway," Axios Denver; D.C. Office of Planning Analysis. 2020. "Assessment of Commercial to Residential Conversions in the District of Columbia." District of Columbia Office of Planning; Steven Paynter. 2022. "What We've Learned by Assessing More Than 300 Potential Office-to-Residential Conversions," Gensler; Sean Campion. 2022. "The Potential for Office-to-Residential Conversions: Lessons from 421-g."; Sujata Srivastava, et al., 2023. "Office-to-Residential Conversion in San Francisco's Changing Real Estate Market," SPUR.
    31. Paynter; Steven Paynter and Duanne Render. 2021. "The Benefits of Converting Class C Office Into First Class Residential," Gensler.
    32. Arpit Gupta, Candy Martinez, and Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh. 2023. "Converting Brown Offices to Green Apartments." National Bureau of Economic Research, 3–4.
    33. Loh et al.
    34. Kim Betancourt, Stephen Gardner, and Mark Palim. 2022. "The U.S. Housing Shortage from a Local Perspective." Fannie Mae.
    35. The White House. 2022. "President Biden Announces New Actions to Ease the Burden of Housing Costs," press release 16 May.
    36. Interview with Jeffrey Havsy, 21 June 2023.
    37. David Morley. 2022. "Is Zoning Helping or Hindering Office-to-Housing Conversions?" American Planning Association; Garvin and Madden, 2, 3–4.
    38. Garvin and Madden, 2; 3.
    39. Anjali Kolachalam. 2022. "Office to Residential Conversions: Scalable Opportunity or Too Unique to a City Block?" Up for Growth.
    40. Steve Smith. 2023. "Five Things to Consider When Evaluating Office-to-Residential Potential," Urban-Land.
    41. U.S. Chamber of Commerce. 2023. "Local Permitting, Zoning Regulations a Key Barrier to Transforming Office Space."
    42. Ibid.
    43. Interview with Yesim Sayin.
    44. Ibid.
    45. Henry Grabar. 2022. "Why the Dream of Turning Empty Offices Into Housing Is a Bust," Slate.
    46. Compstak. 2023. "Market Intel: From Work to Home: Presenting Key Stats on Markets Tapped for Office Conversions."
    47. Ibid; Grabar.
    48. Partnership for New York City. 2022. "Return to Office Survey Results."
    49. Hilde Remøy and Theo van der Voordt. 2014. "Adaptive reuse of office buildings: opportunities and risks of conversion into housing," Building Research & Information 42:3, 381–90.
    50. Michelle Cheng. 2022. "Why it's so hard to convert offices into housing," Quartz.
    51. Interview with Yesim Sayin.
    52. Grabar.
    53. Remøy and van der Voordt.
    54. Paynter.
    55. Emily Badger and Larry Buchanan. 2023. "Here's How to Solve a 25-Story Rubik's Cube," The New York Times,11 March; Metro Loft NYC. 2019. "180 Water Street." Accessed 19 July 2023.
    56. Loh et al.
    57. Citizens Budget Commission. 2022. "The Potential for Office-to-Residential Conversions: Lessons from 421-g."
    58. Interview with Jeffrey Havsy.
    59. Email correspondence with Tracy Hadden Loh.
    60. Ahmad Abu-Khalaf and Ray Demers. 2023. "Converting Offices to Housing: Regulatory and Market Challenges," Enterprise Community Partners.
    61. Garvin and Madden, 2, 4.
    62. Ibid, 2, 5.
    63. Office Adaptive Reuse Task Force, 4.
    64. Ibid.
    65. Compstak; David Garcia and Elliot Kwon. 2021. "Adaptive Reuse Challenges and Opportunities in California," Terner Center.
    66. Gupta, Martinez, and Van Nieuwerburgh, 32–3.
    67. Interview with Jeffrey Havsy.
    68. Emma Goldberg. 2022. "What Would It Take to Turn More Offices Into Housing?" The New York Times, 27 December.
    69. Diana Ionescu. 2022. "Philadelphia Leads the Way in Adaptive Reuse," Planetizen News.
    70. Relman.
    71. Kevin Collison. 2020. "KC a National Leader Converting Old Buildings to Apartments," CitySceneKC.
    72. Diana Ionescu. 2023. "Dallas Ahead of the Game in Adaptive Reuse," Planetizen News.
    73. Gupta, Martinez, and Van Nieuwerburgh, 33–5.
    74. Citizens Budget Commission. 2022. "The Potential for Office-to-Residential Conversions: Lessons from 421-g."
    75. Los Angeles City Planning. n.d. "Fact Sheet: Citywide Adaptive Reuse Ordinance."
    76. Meredith Cook. 2020. "The Los Angeles Adaptive Reuse Ordinance and Residential Shifts in Downtown Los Angeles."
    77. Los Angeles City Planning.
    78. Alexandra Ciuntu. 2020. "50 Years of Adaptive Reuse in Cleveland Give Life to More Than 5,000 Converted Apartments," RentCafe, 11 November.
    79. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development . n.d. "About the Section 108 Loan Guarantee Program." ( Accessed 4 July 2023.
    80. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. n.d. "Mortgage Insurance for Rental and Cooperative Housing: Section 221(D)(4)." Accessed 18 July 2023; U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. n.d. "Mortgage Insurance for Rental Housing for Urban Renewal and Concentrated Development Areas: Section 220." Accessed 18 July 2023.
    81. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. n.d. "Community Development Block Grant Program." ( Accessed 4 July 2023.
    82. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. 2023. "HUD Announces $15 Million Loan Guarantee for Cleveland, OH Affordable Housing Rehabilitation Project," 27 January press release.
    83. Millennia Companies®. n.d. "The Millennia Companies® Receives $40 Million Transformational Mixed-Use Development (TMUD) Tax Credit Award," Accessed 4 July 2023.
    84. Interview with Jeffrey Havsy.
    85. Email correspondence with Tracy Hadden Loh.
    86. Senator Debbie Stabenow. 2021. "Senators Stabenow, Peters and Congressmen Gomez, Kildee, Larson Introduce New Bill to Invest in America's Downtowns," 28 July press release; U.S. Congress, Senate, Revitalizing Downtowns Act, S 2511, 117th Cong., 1st sess., introduced in Senate July 28, 2021.
    87. Email correspondence with Tracy Hadden Loh.
    88. Interview with Yesim Sayin.
    89. Interview with Jeffrey Havsy.


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