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Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Saturday, September 17, 2022

Turning old office buildings into apartments or condos is hardly new, but expected cutbacks in office rentals as companies' permanently adapt to remote work prompted by the pandemic have spurred new interest among landlords in switching the uses of their buildings in the years ahead.

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I've seen enough half dead malls and empty K-marts.

Do it.

#1 | Posted by Tor at 2022-09-15 11:41 AM | Reply

Several insurance carriers I work with in DesMoines, IA have large sections of commercial space downtown they have no use for.

#2 | Posted by eberly at 2022-09-15 11:45 AM | Reply

Take a look at the floor space in this empty mall and tell me it makes sense for it to be empty over a decade when people need housing.

www.youtube.com

#3 | Posted by Tor at 2022-09-15 11:50 AM | Reply

Government Zoning.

See if you convert office space then the "city" needs to supply more water, metro, fire, and police and general services. To typically out of the way locations away from downtown.

It sound good to me to, but too much government revenue needed, which is in the way to make it work.

We need to go UP like most of Asia. But I am finding it hard to find large apartment buildings that aren't failing in America.

#4 | Posted by oneironaut at 2022-09-15 11:58 AM | Reply | Funny: 1

EBERLY

I suspect much of this empty space stuff has a lot to do with liability coverage.

#5 | Posted by Twinpac at 2022-09-15 12:29 PM | Reply

*and zoning.

#6 | Posted by Twinpac at 2022-09-15 12:33 PM | Reply

Twin, the insurance industry hates vacant property. In fact, exclusions are included in commercial property coverage forms for certain perils related to vacancy.

We argue over what's "vacant" or not so we can get around those challenges but it's definitely frowned upon.

#7 | Posted by eberly at 2022-09-15 12:34 PM | Reply

"Housing Shortage? Convert Office Buildings"

But there isn't a housing shortage.
There's an affordable housing shortage.
But there isn't a housing shortage.

#8 | Posted by snoofy at 2022-09-15 12:45 PM | Reply | Funny: 1

Just use tracking tech for whoever you let live in the mall and the problem is pretty much solved.

#9 | Posted by Tor at 2022-09-15 12:45 PM | Reply

"To typically out of the way locations away from downtown."

Office buildings ARE downtown, fool. This isn't Russia.

#10 | Posted by LegallyYourDead at 2022-09-15 02:57 PM | Reply

Several insurance carriers I work with in DesMoines, IA have large sections of commercial space downtown they have no use for.
#2 | POSTED BY EBERLY

And I strongly doubt this empty space will be given away to become homeless shelters.
This is what I mean, there isn't a housing shortage.
There's an available housing shortage.

#11 | Posted by snoofy at 2022-09-15 02:59 PM | Reply

Historically there's not a housing shortage at all. Multi-general residence is the standard, while in current times we're stuck chasing the government created 1950s American Exceptionalist lifestyle where everybody gets their own suburban home.

In a real world example, NYC financial district, the housing created sold at market rates, and only happened because of tax incentives for the 1%. If any proposal says it will be affordable housing it's a lie to farm subsidies. Commercial space is very expensive to convert to Residential use even after you buy the politicians to change the zoning.

#12 | Posted by sitzkrieg at 2022-09-15 04:23 PM | Reply

"Multi-general residence is the standard"

One in five... doesn't set the standard.

A record 64 million Americans live in multigenerational households
www.pewresearch.org

Post-COVID statistics have it at 59 million. Perhaps driven by old people dying off and de-multi-generationalizing their homes.
www.pewresearch.org

#13 | Posted by snoofy at 2022-09-15 04:32 PM | Reply

Read it again and check the "historically" part.

#14 | Posted by sitzkrieg at 2022-09-15 04:51 PM | Reply

but yeah, starting from the 50s was the big drive to the burbs (unless you are black), followed by escalating housing costs that forced people back into multi-generational homes as your link's chart denotes.

#15 | Posted by sitzkrieg at 2022-09-15 04:52 PM | Reply

IIRC the creator of the mall intended for people to be able to live on the upper floors.

#16 | Posted by Tor at 2022-09-15 05:13 PM | Reply

There's a mall in downtown San Diego. Decades ago they tore down a bunch of low income housing to build it. Now the mall is closing.

Meanwhile there's about 10,000 homeless people in San Diego.

#17 | Posted by snoofy at 2022-09-15 05:23 PM | Reply

Don't pull a MadBomber on us.

On the "historically" timeline slavery is the norm too, right?

Everyone knows if I say you're still living with your mother, that's an insult.

#18 | Posted by snoofy at 2022-09-15 05:26 PM | Reply

EBERLY @ #7

You're talking about property insurance. And it's true that usually "property insurance" rates go on vacant building due to their vulnerability.

But I'm talking about exorbitant liability insurance that I, as a commercial property owner, would be required to pay if I allowed my commercial building to be used for anything other than commercial, even temporarily. And I'm not even bringing up things like sanitation facilities. It just isn't going to happen.

The Zoning Board would have something to say about it too. Commercial is commercial ~ residential is residential.

I'm just saying that I understand why empty commercial buildings look like a feasible solution when, in reality, it isn't. The laws just wouldn't allow it.

#19 | Posted by Twinpac at 2022-09-15 05:52 PM | Reply

19

I see. premiums will depend on the occupancy(purpose of the tenant) of a commercial building.

You're suggesting habitational will be a much more expensive premium than a commercial occupancy.

Depends but if you're right....it's intended to be baked into your rent.

#20 | Posted by eberly at 2022-09-15 05:57 PM | Reply

but I get your point....and the zoning is a huge issue.

#21 | Posted by eberly at 2022-09-15 05:58 PM | Reply

EBERLY

"You're suggesting habitational will be a much more expensive premium than a commercial occupancy."

No, I'm saying it's not going to happen. No insurance company will accept liability for an illegal (that means 'not zoned for' residential) at any price.

#22 | Posted by Twinpac at 2022-09-15 06:34 PM | Reply

As noted in the NYC program, re-zoning does happen.

It does not create affordable housing, it creates market rate housing.

#23 | Posted by sitzkrieg at 2022-09-15 06:37 PM | Reply

If you want to create (forgive the USAF style name, but..) ProjectsNG, you have to start with a lot of dilapidated warehouses in places you go to buy crack or rent for a janky rave, re-zone and bulldoze them.

But they're too close to downtowns and can be gentrified...

#24 | Posted by sitzkrieg at 2022-09-15 06:39 PM | Reply

Malls were zoned with the intention of the area being able to handle lots of car traffic, high electrical needs, water run off, and toilet needs.

a much smaller group of people inhabiting the same space would need less not more.

#25 | Posted by Tor at 2022-09-15 06:59 PM | Reply

TOR

Malls were created with the intention of serving commercial business and are zoned for that purpose only. Zoning inspectors decide if the commercial property meets all the other zoning standards for which the commercial property is intended. And I haven't even mentioned the egress and ingress inspection by the Fire Marshall which is different for malls than it is for residential occupants.

Somebody would have to go to a lot of trouble, spend a lot of time, and lay out thousands of dollars of personal money just to qualify for a zoning variance ~ with no guarantee it would even be granted.

For the same reason you can't own 10 acres of prime downtown property in the middle of a business district and get a zoning variance to start a dairy farm.

#26 | Posted by Twinpac at 2022-09-15 09:59 PM | Reply

you can't own 10 acres of prime downtown property in the middle of a business district and get a zoning variance to start a dairy farm.

Isn't that exactly what Lewzer did with his NJ golf club? Seems to me he got some idiot to decree that the fairway grass clippings were a "crop".

#27 | Posted by REDIAL at 2022-09-15 10:47 PM | Reply

REDIAL

I have no idea how Trump's golf club is zoned. I can only speak about the golf clubs in my neighborhood, memberships in which are included as an amenity to promote massive real estate development projects. i.e. residential.

Once the fairway sales have reached their limit, it isn't unusual for a real estate developer to sell the golf course and club house to an individual or company as a private country/golf club. At that point, it becomes "commercial" property.

#28 | Posted by Twinpac at 2022-09-16 04:08 AM | Reply

So change the laws. They do it all the time. Get local and state governments involved in restructuring the zoning and legal frameworks to make this happen. I see nothing insurmountable about it. Just think outside the box and use the power of government to create the conditions that would make this possible.

It's the government that is making this unfeasible. Change the way the area is zoned and taxed and there's no reason dead malls couldn't become large residential complexes,or public housing projects.

It's all about political will.

#29 | Posted by Effeteposer at 2022-09-17 10:59 AM | Reply

Nothing illustrates the efficacy of capitalism in the same manner as a homeless mother and her children sleeping on the ground outside of an abandoned building does.

#30 | Posted by tres_flechas at 2022-09-17 04:06 PM | Reply

Unrestraint capitalism is a cruel monster of a system.

Thankfully we live in a Democratic-Republic complete with a bill of rights which to varying degrees of success utilizes capitalism to provide for the general welfare.

#31 | Posted by Tor at 2022-09-17 04:14 PM | Reply

How about stopping sales from outside the USA? Or maybe limit the amount of houses a corp. can buy?,,, none of these things are on the table.

#32 | Posted by Brennnn at 2022-09-18 12:55 PM | Reply

In CA we should repeal prop 13 for second homes and commercial businesses.

#33 | Posted by dibblda at 2022-09-19 02:03 AM | Reply

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