Executive Briefings

Warehouse Conversions Aren't Just for Cities Anymore - Or Just for Warehouses

The notion that old commercial buildings could enjoy a second life as places to live and work was popularized by artists in Manhattan's SoHo neighborhood in the 1960s, when dusty warehouses started to give way to studios and apartments.

And in the ensuing years, the trend seemed to play out mostly in dense urban areas, where tight quarters necessitated that residents be creative.

Now, however, in an era when homes and offices seem to embrace industrial décor, such “adaptive-reuse” projects are turning up in more suburban areas, in a slew of building types, like power plants, churches, schools, prisons, railroad stations, hospitals and factories.

Despite their growing popularity, the conversions can be complex, time-consuming and expensive, scaring off some developers. And projects can also risk a backlash: Plans for luxury housing in buildings that once employed entire neighborhoods may not sit well with every community.

But as the market for conversions expands, developers are becoming inventive, as with two current New York-area projects.

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And in the ensuing years, the trend seemed to play out mostly in dense urban areas, where tight quarters necessitated that residents be creative.

Now, however, in an era when homes and offices seem to embrace industrial décor, such “adaptive-reuse” projects are turning up in more suburban areas, in a slew of building types, like power plants, churches, schools, prisons, railroad stations, hospitals and factories.

Despite their growing popularity, the conversions can be complex, time-consuming and expensive, scaring off some developers. And projects can also risk a backlash: Plans for luxury housing in buildings that once employed entire neighborhoods may not sit well with every community.

But as the market for conversions expands, developers are becoming inventive, as with two current New York-area projects.

Read Full Article