Nov 11, 2021 - Economy & Business

Your new apartment is someone's old office

Photo Illustration
Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Abandoned office buildings all over the U.S. are being converted into apartments.

By the numbers: In 2020 and 2021, a whopping 13,250 apartments across the country have come from repurposed offices, per a new report from RentCafe.

  • Former office buildings make up 41% of the apartment conversion market, which also includes old hotels, warehouses, factories and even hospitals.

It's a sign of the times. As the pandemic normalizes remote work, lots of firms — from startups to multinational corporations — are downsizing their offices. A logical new purpose for these centrally located buildings with big parking lots is housing.

  • Repurposing old buildings as apartments is easier on developers, too. The renovations can cost up to 40% less than a new construction, per RentCafe's report.

The top cities for converted apartments are Philly (1,863 new units in 2020 and 2021), D.C. (1,762 units) and Cleveland (1,179 units).

What to watch: It's not just old office buildings that are undergoing a retrofit. As we've reported, ugly parking garages all over America are getting new lives as apartments, commercial kitchens and elevated public parks.

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