New commercial real estate trend accelerated by COVID

Adelicia Caree

The D.C. Office of Planning director Andrew Trueblood discusses the future of remote work and office space. The COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating the new trend of turning commercial real estate graveyards into housing. “The demand for office space is continuing to change. I would say it has accelerated what we […]

The COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating the new trend of turning commercial real estate graveyards into housing.

“The demand for office space is continuing to change. I would say it has accelerated what we we’re already beginning to see in terms of you don’t need… as much space per person, and especially as there is more opportunity to telework,” The D.C. Office of Planning director Andrew Trueblood told FOX Business’ Edward Lawrence on Wednesday.

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Trueblood’s comments come on the heels of many people working remotely since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, leading to empty hotels and office buildings.

The trend, Lawrence pointed out, has been to convert commercial spaces into apartment buildings in order to get more affordable living in inner cities.

However, John E. Akridge, a real estate developer in D.C., said the process is very expensive.

“It wasn’t particularly difficult, it was just expensive… one of the most expensive things we did is we cut 25% of the floor space out of this building to create these courtyards that opened up the interior of the building for lighting… and people have to use of the water,” Akridge explained while showing Lawrence a recently converted Coast Guard warehouse.

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Many companies, including Twitter and Facebook, in response to the pandemic, have even created a permanent work-from-home policy as Americans expressed the desire to remain remote.  A new study conducted by Robert Half found that roughly 1 in 3 professionals working remotely said they would quit if companies required them to return to the office full-time.

Even so, Trueblood believes “there will still be a presence and still be the need for office space” in the future. 

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FOX Business’ Lucas Manfredi contributed to this report. 

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