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  #1  
Old Posted Feb 1, 2013, 8:55 PM
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Office towers: Residential lofts of the future?

Hopefully this topic doesn't already have a thread. I couldn't find one, so I decided to create one.
I've always been interested in this concept. Most of the time it doesn't seem economically feasible, and whenever I've mentioned the idea, people seem doubtful that it would ever work

My hope is that someday maybe it will. My hometown of Calgary might be the perfect place for this, as it is a booming energy economy city with millions of square feet of office space, and millions more on the horizon.

It seems logical that someday there will be a large amount of empty space on the market here in Calgary, and maybe this will be the case with other North American cities. Would the economics then work? Could we see office towers turned into the lofts of the future?
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Old Posted Feb 1, 2013, 9:31 PM
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The distance from the public core (elevators, hallways) to the outer facade is a huge variable. Modern office buildings tend to be thick, with large floorplates. Most residential rooms want windows -- living rooms want them, enclosed bedrooms need them by code, etc. If your depths are 50', that's difficult. Depths of 30' will pencil much better for residential use, while also being less desirable from an office perspective.
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Old Posted Feb 1, 2013, 9:41 PM
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Most of the office buildings in Calgary have large floorplates, but I suppose if they were treated as a loft, you could have one maybe, two bedrooms along the outer edge so as to provide windows. Some of the typical buildings in Calgary would be 10,000-25,000 sq ft floorplates. You might be looking at 6 - 10 units per floor, which could make for some huge units.

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Originally Posted by mhays View Post
The distance from the public core (elevators, hallways) to the outer facade is a huge variable. Modern office buildings tend to be thick, with large floorplates. Most residential rooms want windows -- living rooms want them, enclosed bedrooms need them by code, etc. If your depths are 50', that's difficult. Depths of 30' will pencil much better for residential use, while also being less desirable from an office perspective.
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Old Posted Feb 1, 2013, 9:47 PM
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it's already been done. many times.

there are a lot of older art deco/neo-classical/beaux arts office towers from the 1st half of the 20th century that have been converted into residential and/or hotel buildings here in chicago .

there have also been a couple of modernist boxes that have had residential/hotel components added - Mies van der Rohe's IBM plaza (hotel added to floors 2-13), Minuro Yamisaki's montgomery ward headquarters (full residential conversion), and mid-continetal plaza (top 15 floors converted to residential) come immediately to mind.

Last edited by Steely Dan; Feb 1, 2013 at 10:02 PM.
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Old Posted Feb 1, 2013, 10:13 PM
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The quintessential office skyscraper 70 Pine Street (formerly American International) in Manhattan will be getting a full residential conversion soon.
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Old Posted Feb 1, 2013, 10:55 PM
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Thanks! I knew that a few buildings here and there have been converted. I know of one in Edmonton, Vancouver and also one in Victoria BC.

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it's already been done. many times.

there are a lot of older art deco/neo-classical/beaux arts office towers from the 1st half of the 20th century that have been converted into residential and/or hotel buildings here in chicago .

there have also been a couple of modernist boxes that have had residential/hotel components added - Mies van der Rohe's IBM plaza (hotel added to floors 2-13), Minuro Yamisaki's montgomery ward headquarters (full residential conversion), and mid-continetal plaza (top 15 floors converted to residential) come immediately to mind.
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Old Posted Feb 1, 2013, 10:56 PM
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Originally Posted by uaarkson View Post
The quintessential office skyscraper 70 Pine Street (formerly American International) in Manhattan will be getting a full residential conversion soon.
Excellent building to do a conversion.
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  #8  
Old Posted Feb 2, 2013, 2:08 AM
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It happened to my dad's former office in Bristol, England.
His office is now the 5102 residential apartments, and its sister office across the roundabout is now a Premier Inn.

Avon House Bristol
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Old Posted Feb 2, 2013, 3:35 AM
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Hotels are usually even narrower floors. Often they're around 20' or 22' from hall to window. Luckily this works well for a lot of old buildings, just not for many modern highrises.
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  #10  
Old Posted Feb 2, 2013, 11:51 PM
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There are several examples of this in Detroit, such as the David Broderick Tower which was just reopened as residential lofts downtown.
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  #11  
Old Posted Feb 3, 2013, 1:08 AM
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This very concept is what has brought back life into downtown LA. The adaptive reuse ordinance was established in 1999 and dozens of older, historic, vacant office buildings have been converted to lofts. I live in one and right across the street from my building, the upper half of a 22 story 1990's office building was converted to million dollar lofts. Now with prices going sky high for the remaining stock, hotel owners are buying these former office buildings and converting them to 100 - 250 room boutique hotels.
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  #12  
Old Posted Feb 7, 2013, 6:40 AM
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around my way, the walker tower, a striking 23 story 1929 deco former ny telephone company call center bldg in chelsea, is well along being converted to lux apts:


http://m.nydailynews.com/1.1232709
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  #13  
Old Posted Feb 7, 2013, 6:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Surrealplaces View Post
Hopefully this topic doesn't already have a thread. I couldn't find one, so I decided to create one.
I've always been interested in this concept. Most of the time it doesn't seem economically feasible, and whenever I've mentioned the idea, people seem doubtful that it would ever work

My hope is that someday maybe it will. My hometown of Calgary might be the perfect place for this, as it is a booming energy economy city with millions of square feet of office space, and millions more on the horizon.

It seems logical that someday there will be a large amount of empty space on the market here in Calgary, and maybe this will be the case with other North American cities. Would the economics then work? Could we see office towers turned into the lofts of the future?
In Philadelphia they are converting most of the older office space to residential. 2 Liberty Place had a decent portion of the building converted to luxury condos.
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  #14  
Old Posted Mar 7, 2013, 8:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrnyc View Post
around my way, the walker tower, a striking 23 story 1929 deco former ny telephone company call center bldg in chelsea, is well along being converted to lux apts:


http://m.nydailynews.com/1.1232709
Very cool!
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  #15  
Old Posted Mar 7, 2013, 8:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LosAngelesSportsFan View Post
This very concept is what has brought back life into downtown LA. The adaptive reuse ordinance was established in 1999 and dozens of older, historic, vacant office buildings have been converted to lofts. I live in one and right across the street from my building, the upper half of a 22 story 1990's office building was converted to million dollar lofts. Now with prices going sky high for the remaining stock, hotel owners are buying these former office buildings and converting them to 100 - 250 room boutique hotels.
Excellent to hear that a building from the 90's has been converted. Calgary doesn't have any stock of older office buildings. Almost all would have been built from the 70's and on.
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  #16  
Old Posted Mar 7, 2013, 9:07 PM
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IStar Financial Inc., the owner of a portion of Two Liberty Place that had been slated for residential condo conversions, has decided to sell that space for a high-end hotel with 150 rooms.

Jones Lang LaSalle is marketing those floors. The 58-story, 1.2-million-square-foot skyscraper is one of the defining buildings in Philadelphia’s skyline. It was initially constructed as the headquarters for Cigna Corp. but as demand for office space declined, its primary use changed to include both office space and residential condominiums. Two Liberty’s mix of uses highlight how Philadelphia’s real estate market has changed over the years and how the tower has tried to adapt. For more on Two Liberty’s past and future, read the cover story I wrote in tomorrow’s edition of the Philadelphia Business Journal.
http://www.bizjournals.com/philadelp...ggcX1legZpgUGz
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Old Posted Mar 7, 2013, 10:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Surrealplaces View Post
Thanks! I knew that a few buildings here and there have been converted. I know of one in Edmonton, Vancouver and also one in Victoria BC.
there are numerous examples in Edmonton.....however they are mostly older buildings with small floor plates.

Cambridge lofts

source http://www.magnummechanical.ca

Liberty on Jasper

Source http://www.flickr.com/photos/badcomp...n/photostream/

The Ten

source http://alledmontonproperties.com/myl...etails-5181037

There are more. With no balconies I could never live in them...
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Old Posted Mar 16, 2013, 9:58 PM
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older office buildings, with their smaller lease depths and higher perimeter to area ratios tend to be better candidates for this.

However, as noted above in certain markets even big modern office towers are worth transforming. Here in San Francisco the former AAA headquarters at 100 Van Ness is being converted to +\- 450 condos at a cost of $200M or more. new skin, new elevators, core, etc.

we'll probably see more of this in the future as urban cores drift back to being more fully mixed use, but it will always vary with cycles in the market. Sometimes office is hot when residential is not, sometimes vice versa, sometimes they're both hot....
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  #19  
Old Posted Apr 4, 2013, 8:45 PM
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Thanks for posting those good examples. It would be tough without balconies, or at least opening windows. At higher heights I would be less inclined to use the balconies, but at lower heights they are nice to have.

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Originally Posted by SHOFEAR View Post
there are numerous examples in Edmonton.....however they are mostly older buildings with small floor plates.

There are more. With no balconies I could never live in them...
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