NYC Creates Team to Accelerate Office-to-Housing Conversions

August 28, 2023
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New York City (NYC) has launched an Office Conversion Accelerator Team to streamline the process of converting office buildings into housing units. This initiative, announced by Mayor Eric Adams, aims to facilitate adaptive reuse projects that involve converting office spaces into 50 or more housing units. The team will consist of representatives from various city departments and agencies, including City Hall, The Department of City Planning, The Department of Buildings, The Department of Housing Preservations & Development, The Board of Standards & Appeals, and The Landmarks Preservation Commission.

This effort is based on recommendations from The Department of City Planning’s Office Adaptive Reuse Study, issued in January. The study suggested creating a centralized contact point within the city government to assist with office-to-residential conversion projects. Additionally, the study proposed rezoning a section of Manhattan, specifically from W. 23rd to W. 41st streets, to remove zoning restrictions that limit building uses to offices or manufacturing. This rezoning would enable aging office buildings to be transformed into apartments.

The Office Conversion Accelerator Team will provide support to property owners looking to convert their office buildings into residential units. This support includes analyzing the feasibility of zoning for individual conversion projects and helping secure the necessary permits.

Mayor Adams estimated that the rezoning and conversion efforts could yield around 20,000 housing units in midtown Manhattan, contributing to the larger goal of building 500,000 new housing units in NYC over the next decade. Additionally, the study recommended changing regulations to allow older office buildings constructed before 1990 to be more easily converted to residential use. The study also proposed expanding access to flexible conversion regulations for all high-intensity office districts.

How Moran Consultants Can Help

The launch of the Office Conversion Accelerator Team marks a significant step by New York City to address its housing challenges through innovative adaptive reuse strategies. As the city strives to transform underutilized office spaces into much-needed housing units, the involvement of 3rd party consultants can play a pivotal role for lenders, syndicators, and investors.

Moran Consultants bring a wealth of experience in navigating complex regulatory processes, assessing feasibility, and providing crucial insights to property owners and developers. Whether you require a Property Condition Assessment, Phase I ESA, Owner’s Representation, or Construction Loan Monitoring, our team of in-house consultants can offer invaluable insights for your upcoming commercial real estate venture. Utilizing our grasp of local expertise, our consultants play a pivotal role in guaranteeing the successful transformation of office buildings into residential units in New York City.