Commercial real estate may have been one of the hardest hit industries in the midst of the pandemic. As billions of people retreated into their homes for an uncertain amount of time, office buildings and hotels remained largely quiet.
Although there are growing murmurs of returning to pre-pandemic normalcy, New York City’s buildings may never bounce back. That is why some industry experts are expecting commercial structures to be converted into housing of some sort.
However, these types of conversions can take a lot of time and with safety protocols being the top priority, real estate executives say these changes could take even longer than normal.
But it is evident that the real estate world is motivated to rejuvenate struggling buildings, especially as many companies commit to a permanent remote or hybrid work arrangement.
“It’s definitely all happening, for sure,” said Eric Anton, an agent at real estate firm Marcus and Millichap, which specializes in selling buildings. “But a lot of the conversations revolve around whether the conversions can happen efficiently.”
It seems that these conversions will fall into three categories: office into housing, hotels into housing and hotels into offices. However, these will likely be on a short-term basis.
The focus of these transformations has been on Manhattan, which is the city’s hub for business and tourism districts and where the pandemic has hit especially hard.