Can conversions solve the surplus office problem?
NOVEMBER 1, 2023

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Can conversions solve the surplus office problem?

by Andrea Zander

Although there are plenty of examples of office buildings that have been transformed to alternative uses, such as hotels, retail and housing, office-to-residential conversions have moved to the forefront for obvious reasons.

Opinions remain mixed on whether conversions are a viable solution that can be done at scale. “I know everyone loves to talk about it, and everyone thinks this is a great solution. But the reality is that we’re talking about maybe 1 percent to 2 percent of the overall building stock that would be even potentially feasible,” says Jay Lybik, national director of multifamily analytics at CoStar Group.

CoStar conducted an analysis on the possibility of office-to-residential conversions for buildings in urban and CBD areas. An aggressive view showed the market potential for conversion candidates at 6,878 office buildings in the United States that could create 465,300 new housing units. A more conservative estimate, and likely a more realistic scen

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