Study: One-Third of Office Space in 14 North American Cities Could Be Made Into Housing


Published: May 14, 2023 | By: WRE News


A surplus of empty office space could be transitioned to help address a deficit of available housing in 14 major North American markets, according to a new data report from Avison Young.

Looking at more than 26,000 buildings, Avison Young determined office-to-residential conversions could create new housing for thousands of families in as many as 8,996 properties, or roughly 34% of the available office space in the 14 markets. Avison Young identified buildings built before 1990 and those with floor plates below 15,000 square feet in 10 U.S. markets and four Canadian markets.

While acknowledging such conversions come with risks, Avison Young insisted “the rewards could be endless,” with potential benefits including the reanimation of urban centers with an influx of new residents.

“Adaptive reuse is an important conversation we are having around the art of the possible, to demonstrate how this potential solution contributes to placemaking and to the revitalization and vibrancy of our neighborhoods – particularly our downtown cores,” said Sheila Botting, principal and president of professional services for the Americas at Avison Young. “We must reimagine how we want to live, work and play. Adaptive reuse is one of the key components of how we do that as a community.”

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