White House unveils office-to-residential conversion guidance that could unlock billions for projects
The White House on Oct. 27 unveiled the series of measures aimed at making it easier for building owners to convert their properties, with a special emphasis on projects that reduce a building’s carbon emissions.
Some of those guidelines could give developers the ability to leverage billions of federal dollars to make conversion projects a reality in downtowns, rural main streets and other areas across the nation.
-New guidance from the Department of Transportation on how the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act and Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing programs can be used to finance housing development near transportation, including conversions.
-The Department of Housing and Urban Development is releasing updated guidance on how its Community Development Block Grant fund can be used to boost housing supply.
-The General Services Administration is planning to expand its Good Neighbor Program as a way to promote the sale of surplus federal properties that may be ideal for redevelopment into residential use.
The federal government also is releasing a guidebook with information on how 20-plus federal programs can be used to support conversions.
The White House’s announcement comes at a critical time for cities and municipalities facing a mounting problem.
The U.S. office vacancy rate grew to 20.1% in the third quarter, according to Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. Sublease space continues to rise, growing by 3 million square feet on a quarterly basis in Q3, according to JLL.
The paper identified several federal sources that could be leveraged for office conversions, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s $27 billion Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act, which needs to be spent by September 2024.
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