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Could office space become living space?

Converting commercial to residential
Posted at 7:05 PM, Jun 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-30 22:05:59-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — COVID threw a hitch into commercial real estate as more workers started working from home, but some commercial property owners are thinking office space might make good living space.

Home and apartment markets are red hot, while the commercial office space industry is still figuring out it’s post-pandemic future after so many companies moved to more work at home.

Now some property owners are looking into whether it makes sense to turn commercial space into places to live.

Rick Kleiner is with Cushman and Wakefield/Picor, a big commercial real estate company.

“I have a client that's looking into the idea of converting a vacant office property. It's a significant property over 100,000 square feet, a large campus environment. So they're looking actively at how that could convert, trying to make the numbers work, and it is completely because of the high spike demand in apartment leasing.”

Kleiner says for now the idea is still an experiment, not a trend. He says you need a space that is already vacant. He thinks vacant call centers might work because a lot of them have moved their employees to work at home status.

He still sees a market for office space with companies renting more space so workers are not packed close together.

“I think the staff are going to demand that kind of spacing. I think they're going to want to be in nicer space, because it just comes with the improved HVDC systems and other amenities that people are going to feel more comfortable about.”

And he thinks the residential boom could help fill office space as traditional office space because a hot residential market could translate into more jobs.