Residential buildings that used to be something else, like a hotel or a factory, have a certain charm. The conversion of all types of commercial property into apartment buildings has been going on for at least 70 years. Over the past decade, office buildings have become the darling of adaptive reuse, which is focused on building houses, according to a new report from RENTcoffee shop Blog.
In an astonishing leap, 55 times more old buildings were converted into shared apartments in the 2010s than in the 1950s. This is evident from the data from Yardi Matrix published in the report authored by Alexandra Ciuntu.
A large part of the renovations, 65%, created affordable housing. Built as the Eastman Dental Dispensary in Rochester, New York in 1917, the restored Eastman Gardens now offers affordable senior housing, as well as recreated murals and woodwork. Many former hotels have also become affordable apartment complexes.
A total of 778 old buildings have been converted into apartments since 2010, while 1,876 such buildings have undergone the change since the 1950s. In some geographic markets, more homes are being converted than others, while developers have often chosen creative properties to become apartment buildings.
Chicago has the most repurposed residential buildings, with 91 such buildings, followed by Philadelphia and third and fourth in Los Angeles and New York City. Philly has a staggering 85 historic buildings that have become apartments, including the Sugar Refinery Apartments building which now houses 66 units and apartments
In terms of the number of homes created through remodeling, New York leads the way with nearly 18,500 projects, followed by Chicago with 14,167; Philadelphia, 11,266; Los Angeles, 10,569; and St. Louis, MO, with over 7,000 units.
In the past seven decades, factory conversions have created 442 homes across the country, as many of these floor plans offer floor plans that are well suited for apartments. Hotels were the second most popular type of property to be remodeled. Moving rooms to apartments and reception areas in concierge desks is reportedly relatively easy, making 434 apartment buildings.
"There's just one thing about old building designs that never goes out of style," said Ciuntu. “In this decade, the shift to remote working may be the trigger for further office-to-home conversions. Or maybe other building types such as retail space are giving way to rental apartments. "