The Future State of Office Space and Workforce Housing

On this episode of Weaver Beyond the Numbers, Real Estate edition, Howard Altshuler, Partner-in-Charge, Real Estate Services for Weaver, and Rob Nowak, Partner, Tax Services for Weaver, brought their dynamic duo powers to some hot real estate topics; what to do with excess office space made available due to the effects of the pandemic, and the growing needs of single-family workforce housing. One solution beginning to pop up in some areas is the conversion of office space to living space. But just because conversions are taking place, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a full solution to the problem.

“I don’t feel conversion, no matter what you’re dealing with, is easy,” Altshuler said. “If you build an office building, you’re still going to be better off being able to use it as an office building than trying to turn it into a condo or an apartment building.” While Altshuler understands that there may be some office space downsizing, he does not believe the office is dead.

There is the situation at hand, and then there is the situation that needs to be looked at down the road. One thing Nowak knows is, people have short-term memories. “In two-to-three years, we’ll have forgotten all about the pandemic, and we’ll inevitably return to our pattern of densely-packed office spaces.”

Another trend Altshuler and Nowak see is in workforce housing. “The whole issue of workforce housing, whether it’s affordable or not, is going to take another leap forward here in 2021,” Nowak said. “We see more instances of single-family residential rental communities. You have younger families that don’t want to deal with the maintenance and upkeep, but they still want to live in a home.” Nowak agreed that there is definitely a push and a market now for the single-family rental.

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