Mihai Andritoiu

Last year, it’s estimated that more than 8,000 apartment units were created from former office buildings, according to RentCafe. While not enough to solve the housing shortage, could these office building conversions help?

But here’s the thing: Converting an office building into an apartment or condo building takes more than just a snap of the fingers. These are often costly, difficult projects that typically take years and miles of bureaucratic red tape to complete.

“One of the problems with trying to [repurpose] these types of buildings as housing is these areas tend to have higher costs, a lot more regulatory barriers, and long timelines for getting projects done,” says Jason M. Ward, associate director for the Rand Center for Housing and Homelessness in Los Angeles. “The areas where you might have the most opportunities are the areas that are the hardest to build in.”

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