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When you walk into The National in downtown Dallas, there’s a greeting table for an upstairs restaurant that offers guests a glass of champagne to prep them for their 40-story ride to dinner. Keep walking, and you’re in the lobby of a luxury hotel. Jump in the elevators and head up a few stories, you’re in the luxury residential zone.

The building is a testament to the possibilities of office conversions – a bank tower that sat vacant in the heart of downtown for more than a decade before a drastic reinvention that drew life back to the core. As downtowns across the country begin to come to terms with soaring vacancies and the promise of worse to come as workers dig into their work-from-home lifestyles, the cries for office conversion grow louder.

Will developers rescue downtowns? It’s complicated. The National’s conversion cost nearly half a billion dollars, but cost alone isn’t the only deterrent, as Zonda has advised developers in the past and continues to remind current clients. Here are several factors to consider.

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