Creative Approach to Apartment Shortfall Takes Off
September 29, 2020
Former factories, breweries, air force bases, and even old churches are being turned into multifamily buildings as developers target them as a viable solution to overcoming housing shortages. Apartment conversions reached an all-time high over the past decade, according to a new analysis from RENTCafe.
Adaptive reuse projects have brought more than 240,000 apartments onto the market over the past 70 years. Sixty-five percent of these conversions were targeted at middle- and lower-income renters, RENTCafe’s study shows.
Developers have been reinventing buildings for housing for decades. For example, in the 1950s, hotels were a prime target for apartment conversions. In the 2000s, factories were popular for apartment conversions. Over the past decade, former office buildings have been transformed. Overall, factories have been the most popular building type to be converted into rental units.
Conversions are more common in some cities than others. For instance, Chicago has the highest number of adaptive reuse apartment buildings and the most converted number of hotels in the country. New York, however, boasts the highest number of apartments that were created through adaptive reuse, RENTCafe’s report shows.
The cities with the highest number of converted apartment buildings:
- Chicago: 91 (converted buildings)
- Philadelphia: 85
- Los Angeles: 74
- New York: 73
- St. Louis: 62
The cities with the highest number of apartments created from building conversions:
- New York: 18,488
- Chicago: 14,167
- Philadelphia: 11,266
- Los Angeles: 10,569
- St. Louis: 7,197
“Yesterday’s Factories, Today’s Apartments: Conversions at All-Time High in the U.S.,” RentCafe (Sept. 21, 2020)
Updated: October 29, 2020