Spotlight Report

Saying Goodbye to the Office—and Hello to Housing

Office work is changing. During the heat of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the average commercial office vacancy rate across the U.S. leapt from about 12% to 15%, according to CBRE. Meanwhile, nearly every major city in the U.S. is struggling with a years-long affordable housing crisis that is forcing people to share close quarters or move farther and farther away from their jobs.

Why not convert those empty office buildings into housing? It sounds obvious. And yet there are both design problems and economic roadblocks. This report analyzes the sustainability opportunities and challenges of urban office-to-multifamily conversions.

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