United States

The Top 10 Cities Turning Old Office Buildings Into Apartments—Take a Look Inside

Barry Halkin | Halkin Mason Photography

Your old office could become someone's new apartment: Roughly 41% of converted apartments built in the last two years, or 13,250 units, have come out of ex-offices, according to a report from the apartment-search site RentCafe.

The trend picked up in the last decade and could grow even more as remote work takes off in the aftermath of the pandemic. Office vacancy rates remain high as employers plan to reduce their physical footprint and real estate developers have to transform vacant spaces. Meanwhile, adaptive reuse, or repurposing an existing building for something new, can minimize the environmental impacts of construction, cost less money, take less time and create more housing in some of the most expensive cities across the U.S.

Looking ahead, roughly one-quarter of apartment conversions planned in 2022 and beyond will take place in former office buildings, according to RentCafe.

Here are the top 10 cities where old offices are being turned into apartments in 2020 and 2021, plus how much it costs to rent there, according to RentCafe and based on data from its sister company Yardi Matrix, a commercial real estate data firm.

1. Washington, D.C.

Number of office-to-apartment conversions: 1,091

Average rent in the city: $2,160 per month

Notable office-turned-apartment building: The Wray, previously occupied by the State Department since the beginning of World War II

The Wray in Washington, D.C.
Courtesy of The Wray
The Wray in Washington, D.C.

2. Chicago

Number of office-to-apartment conversions: 1,020

Average rent in the city: $2,059 per month

Notable office-turned-apartment building: Millennium On LaSalle, a 13-story office building most recently known as Barrister Hall 

3. Alexandria, Virginia

Number of office-to-apartment conversions: 955

Average rent in the city: $1,902 per month

Notable office-turned-apartment building: The Foundry, a mixed-use building with a food hall, coworking space and 520 apartment units

4. Los Angeles

Number of office-to-apartment conversions: 904

Average rent in the city: $2,518 per month

Notable office-turned-apartment building: The Mayer Building, an LA Art Deco landmark that will be converted into affordable housing

5. Cleveland

Number of office-to-apartment conversions: 652

Average rent in the city: $1,172 per month

Notable office-turned-apartment building: Terminal Tower, a 52-story skyscraper that was the tallest building in the world outside of New York City when it was completed in the 1930s

Terminal Tower rises behind Public Park in downtown in Cleveland, Ohio on Tues. June 7, 2016.
Michael Macor| San Francisco Chronicle/Hearst Newspapers | Getty Images
Terminal Tower rises behind Public Park in downtown in Cleveland, Ohio on Tues. June 7, 2016.

6. Philadelphia

Number of office-to-apartment conversions: 591

Average rent in the city: $1,736 per month

Notable office-turned-apartment building: Lyndon at the Curtis, previously home to offices for the Saturday Evening Post and Ladies Home Journal

7. Honolulu

Number of office-to-apartment conversions: 571

Average rent in the city: $1,943 per month

Notable office-turned-apartment building: The Residences at Bishop Place, a 493-unit high-rise building in the city's Financial District

8. Nashville, Tennessee

Number of office-to-apartment conversions: 458

Average rent in the city: $1,581 per month

Notable office-turned-apartment building: Lofts at the Reserve, formerly the Nashville branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

9. Union, New Jersey

Number of office-to-apartment conversions: 415

Average rent in the city: $1,557 per month

Notable office-turned-apartment building: The Titan Union, formerly the Union Center National Bank now home to apartments, coworking space and an event hall

10. Hyattsville, Maryland

Number of office-to-apartment conversions: 338

Average rent in the city: $1,580 per month

Notable office-turned-apartment building: The Highline apartments, located in the 10-story Metro II building, first constructed in 1968

Check out:

Do you actually like your job? Try the 15-5 method to find out

How a 25-year-old with a disability lives on $33,000 in Chicago

A counterintuitive trick to decide whether a new job offer is really worth it

Sign up now: Get smarter about your money and career with our weekly newsletter

Copyright CNBCs - CNBC
Contact Us