Up for Growth Releases Policy Brief on Office to Residential Conversions

Date Published: 
December 7th, 2022

Several initiatives are underway at all levels of government to try and solve the dual problems of empty offices and insufficient housing. These include $400 million in incentives for adaptive residential reuse efforts in California’s 2022-24 budget, a hotel-to-housing conversion bill in New York, Philadelphia’s conversion policy, and local initiatives in San Francisco and Portland. Research into the efficacy of these policies is ongoing.

A new policy brief from Up For Growth analyzes office vacancies in Denver, Colorado, and asks why there are so few office-to-residential conversion projects while identifying some frequently occurring challenges with these projects. Denver’s downtown Central Business District has the potential for office-to-residential conversions in 6% of the total building area. Nearly 80% of respondents in this study agreed that policy action is needed to encourage more office-to-residential conversions.

The brief discusses the types of office buildings that do and do not work well for conversions to residential units. Turn-of-the-century industrial buildings found in many cities are prime candidates for office-to-residential conversions. Such buildings typically have large, open floorplans and tall ceilings, span a portion of a city block, and are four to five stories tall, which makes it easier to add floors, plumbing systems, hallways, and stairwells. Purpose-built office spaces do not have the same dimensions and open interiors as industrial buildings.  

CLPHA Program(s): 
Resource type(s): 

Sorry, this content is only available to members.

If you're a member of CLPHA, please click here to log in.

If you have not created your CLPHA.org account, it’s easy to create one. Click here for step-by-step instructions.

You can also click here to watch a webinar site tour that shows CLPHA members how to create website accounts for themselves and provides an overview of the site's functionality.

Otherwise, we invite you to learn more about the many benefits of CLPHA membership.