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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.

Go deeper

$50 million affordable housing project in NW Arkansas

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Five new affordable housing developments will be built in NWA, according to an announcement from Excellerate Foundation.

Why it matters: It's hard for many people to afford rent here. The Northwest Arkansas Council recently called the lack of affordable housing one of the region's biggest challenges to sustained growth.

1 hour ago - World

Scoop: Iran preparing to enrich weapons-grade uranium, Israel warns U.S.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi holds a press conference. Photo: Presidency of Iran handout via Getty

Israel has shared intelligence over the past two weeks with the U.S. and several European allies suggesting that Iran is taking technical steps to prepare to enrich uranium to 90% purity — the level needed to produce a nuclear weapon, two U.S. sources briefed on the issue tell me.

Why it matters: Enriching to 90% would bring Iran closer than ever to the nuclear threshold. The Israeli warnings come as nuclear talks resume in Vienna, with Iran returning to the negotiating table on Monday after a five-month hiatus.

Biden: Fight against Omicron won't include "shutdowns or lockdowns"

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden on Monday said that the new coronavirus variant, Omicron, is "a cause for concern, not a cause for panic."

Driving the news: Biden said later this week the administration will be releasing a strategy on how "we're going to fight COVID this winter. Not with shutdowns or lockdowns, but with more widespread vaccinations, boosters, testing and more."