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Repurposing and Redesigning Office Space in Chicago

Published on February 20th, 2023

The increase in remote workers has left many cities in the US with a glut of empty office space. Conversely, with more people working from home, and more of them opting to bike and walk for everyday errands, affordable housing is increasingly in demand in Chicago, IL.

This trend, while different, is similar to the deindustrialization many cities saw in the last third of the 20th century. As cities transitioned away from factories, warehouses, and food distribution centers, developers filled these once industrial areas with loft residences, boutique hotels, unique retail spaces,and restaurants. A typical example of this is Chicago’ West Loop, the once industrial hub located just west of the central downtown business district.

As work environments change, and office space is left vacant, the next big trend is likely to be adaptive reuse housing developments. The end result will be a central business district that is more than an 8-hour workspace, but a real neighborhood where people live, shop, work and share a vibrant community.

Adaptive Reuse

Transforming offices into living spaces takes a great deal of planning and often structural renovation. It is much more than removing cubicles and replacing them with kitchens and bedrooms. Nevertheless, with few returning to the office full time, the age of remote work seems like it’s here to stay. This means that many commercial real estate investors who are looking for ways to ensure a return on their investment are looking to architectural firms that specialize in adaptive reuse projects.

The Cost of Converting Office Space in Chicago

Whether we’re talking about one of the iconic, marble-clad landmarks that line downtown streets or a modern redevelopment filled with loft office space in Chicago, necessary upgrades to the existing building can be costly. Office buildings often require electrical, plumbing and safety upgrades, and because of their large footprints, often the interior will need to be opened up to allow for natural light.

Despite the cost, adaptive reuse may be an option for those looking to optimize their investment property. If, for instance, you have Chicago office space for sale, you might consider asking your brokerage to target developers who specialize in adaptive reuse development. Conversely, if you are a developer or investor looking to purchase and redevelop vacant office space, this might be the perfect avenue to earn the payoff you are seeking.

Lastly, as this trend continues, developers are likely to see more public/private funding partnerships as well as tax credits for these types of projects.

Frontline Real Estate

If you are looking to sell, lease, or purchase commercial real estate in the Chicago area, Frontline Real Estate is here to help make everything go smoothly. Let our team of real estate professionals simplify the process for you while you reap the financial rewards. For more information, call us at (847)-780-8065 or fill out our contact form today.

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