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Changing Environments - Office Space Conversion


Thoughts on the growing office conversion landscape; last year CoStar identified 2,600 Class - B commercial office buildings across the nation as potential conversions to residential and or hospitality, with more on the way.


Important architectural and interior design variables that make office to hospitality conversions both realistic and economical, even though office-to-hotel conversions may not be the ideal answer for every office building. First, office buildings already contain the infrastructure required to accommodate hospitality services, such as elevators, robust HVAC systems, spacious hallways, FPE infrastructure, IT backbones, floor plates that accommodate punched openings, and parking all making a conversion process more expedient. The open floor plans of most office buildings are easily demised and adaptable to hotel operations, facilitating creative architectural and interior designs for guest rooms, common areas and back of house operations aimed to maximize guest experience, spatial utilizations, and revenue generation.



In central London, The Ned (above) is a strong example of what can be achieved when repurposing Class-B office space. This property was transformed by its architects and interior designers into a five-star luxury hotel with 250 keys, a member’s club, 10 restaurants, gym, and spa.


Additional programing for office to hotel conversion can include mixed-use development including, in addition to the hotel, specialty retail, Independent F&B providers, fractional ownership apartments or fee simple condos.  The benefits of a comprehensive strategy for repurposing office buildings begin with the property`s ability to accommodate a variety of uses increasing its ability to adapt to changing market needs while benefiting from weighted cap rates.


Finally, existing office buildings are generally up to code, simplifying converting into a hotel and saving the project months of tedious regulatory approvals and permitting (variance approvals may be required when changing commercial usage types).


punched floor plate for lobby volume, light, views & drama

 

Most conversions have been concentrated in coastal and northeast markets converting relatively older office stock. San Diego, Boston, Manhattan, Philadelphia, Boston, and San Francisco Peninsula have the most completed conversions since 2016. Conversion costs Class – B office to a 4 Star hotel is ranging between $215.00 to $500.00 per square foot.



Office Conversions by Construction Status and Estimated Year of Completion

Source: CBRE Research.

 


The opportunities in office to hotel conversions cannot be overstated for the hospitality industry. These conversions provide a way to create new hotels without requiring land acquisition, lengthy regulatory reviews, the construction of new infrastructure and buildings, all of which are costly and time-consuming. Additionally, conversions allow developers to leverage existing infrastructure, such as roads and utilities reducing the overall cost and time of development.


R. Nicholas Loope, FAIA, Founder & Principal Architect

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