After the pandemic is over, what will happen to all the commercial office space available in Downtown Miami and other areas. Will people actually move back to the office, or will the attraction of working from home be a viable alternative for both the employer, by saving him money on rent, and for the employee, in not having to fight Miami traffic? If the choice for staying home is so appealing, will the price for commercial office space drop, or will developers be able to convert some of this space to more desirable uses?
That is the question that will be answered in the coming months. Will there be a new trend? Already fewer people want commercial space due to many available co-working environments.
So, can vacant space in downtown Miami be re-purposed to create more housing?
CoStar reported in 2015, “almost half the top office central business district markets in the United States were experiencing significant office-to-residential conversions”. This, they said, had the potential to create an additional 11,500 new residential units in major cities. Why not Miami?
If office space can be adapted to residential space, there is a potential for developers to save some money in the construction. The structure of a building can run $45 to $50 per square foot according to Pepper Construction So, a floor that is approximately 90’ x 120’ could cost around half a million dollars per floor. Could this be attractive to developers? Of course, they could save millions by using an existing building and converting it to residential units rather than building from scratch.
In addition, there is already existing infrastructure for the building, water and sewer lines. These may have to be enhanced but some of the connections may already be there. Again, this could mean more savings.
Are there examples of these buildings in existence? The Urban Land Institute reports of a successful building, The Century Building, a 12-story, 80,000-square-foot (7,400 sq m) former office building in downtown Pittsburgh. It was redeveloped by TREK Development Group. The units are both workforce housing and affordable housing. It was developed with a mix of private capital, contributions from several foundations, some funds from local government agencies, and federal low-income tax credits.
Downtown Miami is becoming a very desirable place to live. So, if you own an office building which is on the verge of being vacant, think about this option. It may be an option for producing income in your future. Call Maria Luisa Castellanos, Architect, 305-439-7898, if you want to look at your options. I would be happy to have look at your property and have an in-depth discussion with you on possibilities.