Developers are increasing the rate at which they transform former factories, breweries, churches and even air force bases into multifamily buildings as they bid to overcome housing shortages in America’s cities.
Apartment conversions have reached an all-time high in the U.S. in the past decade, according to a study by RENTCafe.
The study reckons that adaptive reuse projects have introduced more than 240,000 apartments into the U.S. housing stock over the past 70 years. And 65% of those conversions were targeted at lower- and middle-income families.
Buildings have been reinvented to provide housing for decades already, so the trend isn’t exactly new. Back in the 1950s, hotels were popular targets for apartment conversions as the layout suited that use case. Since the 2000s, factories have also been popular, and more recently developers are transforming old officer buildings into housing units too. Overall, factories are the most popular building type to be converted these days.
Some adaptive reuse projects that now exist as high-end residential apartments include a former chocolate factory in Philadelphia that was built in 1902 and is now knows as "The Chocolate Works" (pictured), a former funeral home in New Orleans, L.A., that was built in 1929, and a former asylum built in 1878 in Danvers, MA.
Conversions are more popular in some cities than others, though. Chicago has the highest number of adaptive reuse apartments and also the most converted hotels in the country, with Philadelphia and Los Angeles coming in second and third. However, New York has the largest number of apartments that were created through all types of adaptive reuse projects, the report showed.