The diminishing volume of quality multifamily development sites will influence more developers — especially local firms — to target conversion opportunities that involve transforming aging factories, schools, office buildings, warehouses and churches into rental product.

A number of these aging buildings are infill-located or in submarkets that have undergone recent gentrification. By saving the core or shell of a building, incorporating existing interior features and obtaining various available tax credits, developers can save money on project costs.

Additionally, the time frame for a conversion project is typically shorter — 12 to 15 months — than building a new project from the ground up.

The highest volume of apartment conversion projects will occur in the Mid-Atlantic and Great Lakes areas.

Philadelphia stands apart as one market with a significant pipeline of conversion deals. A century-old church and school was recently approved for a 34-unit apartment conversion. Developer MRP Realty is reportedly looking throughout Philly for old office buildings that can be converted to apartments. A $35 million conversion of a seminary is slated for upcoming completion.

In nearby Pittsburgh, Philly-based developer Core Realty plans to transform seven to 13 floors of a Macy’s building into 311 units. D.C. represents another Mid-Atlantic market primed for conversions involving office buildings and hospitals.

Down the coast, North Carolina will see its share of upcoming conversions. East West Partners recently broke ground on a project that will transform a warehouse in downtown Durham into 247 units. A furniture warehouse in Greensboro will also be converted to rental.

Primary cities within the Great Lakes region will allow for conversion opportunities. In Chicago, Stonestreet Partners will redevelop a former funeral home, while a long-vacant office building in downtown Milwaukee will be repurposed into 200 units. Cleveland represents another city in the region with conversion possibilities.

The Midwest also presents developers with conversion chances. In Memphis and Chattanooga, Tennessee, hotel and office-to-apartment conversions are ongoing or approved. In Kansas City, a Folgers coffee plant will become 146 units by this summer. At least three other approvals are in process for three downtown conversions in the city.

Email Erik Pisor.

Show Comments Hide Comments


Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription