Adaptive Reuse in Commercial Construction

//Adaptive Reuse in Commercial Construction

Adaptive Reuse in Commercial Construction

Simply put, adaptive reuse is the process of using land or a building for something different that it was originally intended for. Although developers have used this strategy for decades, it’s been trending recently for a variety of reasons. Below we’ll explore exactly what’s involved in adaptive reuse in commercial construction, why it’s surging, and some recent project.

Some industry experts suggest that the surge in adaptive reuse is caused by the recession. But before we get into why everyone from government leaders to real estate investors are assuming transformative philosophies, let’s take a closer look at what elements are required for projects to be considered adaptive reuse:

  • It always starts with existing structures. Even though new construction can happen, a project is adaptive reuse only if it involves an existing building or land.
  • Properties that are in a state of disrepair; whether it’s a former office building or shopping center, all the tenants have left, and the old use is no longer productive.
  • Projects must involve repurposing. What separates a traditional remodeling project from adaptive reuse is that it’s being used for something different that originally intended.
  • It requires economic viability. In addition to meeting legal and physical requirements, adaptive reuse projects must pass the highest and best use test.

Why Adaptive Reuse Is Surging

Developers are having a difficult time keeping up with the increased demand for these projects as more cities and property owners are looking for ways to repurpose their decaying assets. Expensive and centralized projects dominated the construction landscape before the economic downturn, but now cities are focusing more on ways to use and convert existing structures and land instead of starting new projects from scratch. Here are some reasons why:

  • Limited supply of undeveloped land. The cost to repurpose old properties is cheaper than ground-up construction projects. Adaptive reuse is also a faster alternative.
  • To overcome market blight and recover sales and property tax revenue. Cities don’t make any money from unused structures and are more willing to permit adaptive reuse projects.
  • The shift from traditional retail space to e-commerce. A growing number of retailers are closing their doors and moving sales online leaving reusable structures behind.

Exploring Recent Projects

Abandoned jails, old office buildings and vacant rails are just a few of the spaces that cities have been repurposing over the years. For example, the Library Hotel in Boston transformed a vacant jail into a 298-room luxury hotel. Another great example is a 1960s office building in Santa Ana, California that was converted into a 58-unit affordable housing project after renovations.

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By | 2020-10-05T16:23:03-04:00 October 15th, 2020|Construction Blog|

About the Author:

The Birmingham Group has been serving the construction industry since 1967. Brian Binke took over the firm in 1995 and since that time, he has personally placed over 1200 construction managers and senior leaders, with company revenues ranging from $10 million dollars to the largest ENR 400 companies in the industry. Brian is an industry innovator, with a specialized skillset in construction. His keen understanding of business, the construction industry, and ability to effectively match and recruit top leaders has led to many accolades. He was ranked the #1 International Billing Owner in the construction industry for his own personal production and has been consistently recognized as one of the Top 10 International Billing Owners out of 800 owners worldwide. This includes owners across every industry. In 2013, Brian was awarded the #1 International Billing Owner within the entire network. For over two decades, Brian has been considered one of the most influential thought leaders in the construction industry. His business and construction knowledge are used as a resource for some of the nation’s most prominent publications. In the past year alone, Brian has been quoted in or authored articles for The Wall Street Journal, CBS News, MoneyWatch, Construction Today, ConstructionDive, United Rentals, Fast Company, Entrepreneur Magazine, American Express, Builder Magazine, and Human Resource Executive, among others. "I believe companies are a lot like sports teams. The team with the best players usually wins. It is my passion to deliver the absolute best talent to my client companies – the market’s top performers, the talent that every company wants to hire but which seldom seems available. To put it simply, I thrive on helping my clients build their Dream Team." - Brian Binke, The Birmingham Group
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