The New York City Department of City Planning now has an Office Conversion Accelerator program to act as a single city government contact for owners that are considering office-to-residential conversion projects. This applies to conversions that would provide 50 units of housing or more, and is in anticipation of reforms proposed in the Office Adaptive Reuse Study:
- Allow newer office buildings to be converted, buildings built before 1991 rather than only buildings built before 1962.
- Expand the most flexible conversion regulations to more business districts.
- Rezone to expand residential zoning, possibly allowing for residential in what are now manufacturing zones, for example in the Garment District.
- Eliminate parking requirements for new residential units.
- Harmonize recreation space requirements for conversions with those for newly constructed buildings.
These proposed reforms are part of broader City of Yes Housing Opportunity initiative that aims to increase housing throughout the city by reducing barriers to development. Pending environmental and public review, City Planning Commission approval and City Council approval, these measures in the initiative could be approved as soon as Spring 2024.
If you are an owner considering converting your office building into apartments or a hotel, EP Engineering can help. We can assess existing utility services and MEP systems and provide guidance on capital planning to upgrade or replace them to suit a residential conversion. We can also design the upgrades, bearing in mind the efficiency and emissions requirements of the recently passed energy laws.