Real Estate

DC Area Leads the Way in Office-to-Apartment Conversions

Four of the top 10 cities with the most rental units in former office buildings are in the DC area.

Downtown in April 2020. Photograph by Elan Irving/iStock.

You’ve likely read plenty of think pieces about the future of office space by now. One trend that’s emerged as a way to deal with much of the now-empty, older office buildings that dot the DC area is to convert them to residential spaces.

It turns out that our region is paving the way when it comes to this trend: Of the top 10 cities that saw the highest number of office-to-apartment unit conversions between 2020 and 2021, four are located in the DC region, according to data from real estate analysis group Yardi Matrix.

DC saw the most office-to-rental conversions in the country during this period, according to the report, with 1,147 new units. Alexandria comes in at number five, Baltimore is number eight, and Hyattsville is number nine.

And DC is the number-one city for adaptive reuse at large, says the report, converting 1,565 rental units out of old buildings between 2020 and 2021. That’s almost six percent of all adaptive reuse projects within the country.

It’s likely we’ll see even more office-to-apartment conversions if the trends outlined in this report continue: Office buildings were the most popular type of property to adapt into rental spaces between 2020 and 2021, says the report, making up 40 percent of all residential conversions.

Mimi Montgomery Washingtonian
Home & Features Editor

Mimi Montgomery joined Washingtonian in 2018. She’s written for The Washington Post, Garden & Gun, Outside Magazine, Washington City Paper, DCist, and PoPVille. Originally from North Carolina, she now lives in Del Ray.