On November 8, 2023, Hilary Atzrott Hamburg was quoted in National Apartment Association’s Units magazine on office-to-residential conversions. According to the article, some cities are leveraging vacant office buildings and transforming them to meet the growing housing demand. While the concept is growing in popularity, a long list of factors determines whether the transformation can occur, and many legal questions may arise.
Discussing the legal process of a conversion, Hamburg lists the types of questions attorneys should consider asking. What rights do owner-operators and residents have when terminating a lease—what happens if the developer wants to vacate the building to convert it to residential units? “Also, what do the loan documents say? Is lender consent required for construction, or on land use applications if the developer needs to go to a zoning board or city agency for discretionary approvals, such as a variance?” she asked. Such questions are part of the due diligence of attorneys advising the developer, who also should be on board from the very beginning, Hamburg said.