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ZweitenMal t1_ja7q4e3 wrote

When jobs go obsolete they tell workers to retrain, find a new career. When buildings go obsolete, the owners whine about how “retraining” the building is too hard and expensive.

No sympathy, not sorry.


kinky_boots t1_ja7ql70 wrote

They’ve done it before in the 90’s and early 2000’s in the Financial District, it’s not completely a ghost town like it used to be after 7pm on a weeknight. Midtown will be fine.


ketzal7 t1_ja85s9b wrote

Yeah so many offices in FiDi became apartments after the 2008 recession. Don’t know why this is being painted as alien or new.


iamnyc t1_ja8cium wrote

The FiDi ones that were converted had the floorplates to do so. I'm 100% certain that ANY current office building owner that has a floorplate (and zoning!) that even kind of works will do the same. Unfortunately, the big towers in Midtown generally do not fall in this category, so the owners are stuck.

We shouldn't care about the owners, but we SHOULD care about the tax base.


drpvn t1_ja8fkdt wrote

Garment District has a fair number of buildings that would be suitable for conversion into two-per-floor or floor-through units. Hope to see it happen. It’s a great location that just needs more residents.


iamnyc t1_ja8gj8a wrote

Garment District also has manufacturing zoning, so you've got to go beg the City Council. We've seen how that turns out.


drpvn t1_ja8gz12 wrote

I may be naive, but there is so little “manufacturing” left in the neighborhood, and the climate now is very different now than it was in the past, so I think they’ll ultimately allow more residential.


iamnyc t1_ja8w3mq wrote

In the past, the City Council has generally erred on the side of zoning for the least profitable and viable uses, in order to make owners come to them to beg for whatever the market wants there. Local land use control is a pox on American society.


Important-Ad1871 t1_ja9c32u wrote

There are still a lot of textile factories in the garment district, they’re just high up so you don’t see them


drpvn t1_ja9ce04 wrote

3,000 jobs in the neighborhood, according to article


Important-Ad1871 t1_ja9cuxg wrote

Total, or specifically for manufacturing?


drpvn t1_ja9cxke wrote

Doesn’t specific so I assume it means total.


Important-Ad1871 t1_ja9dhzn wrote

Well, I’m not sure if that’s supposed to be a lot or a little because the garment district isn’t very large.

But if you google “garment district factories” there really are a lot of them, especially for midtown.


drpvn t1_ja9e9db wrote

It’s been a steady decline for a long time. I’ve read that at its peak (a long time ago), there were about 150,000 garment industry jobs in the neighborhood.


Important-Ad1871 t1_ja9euui wrote

Yeah, because Manhattan used to be an industrial hub. But then it got too difficult to move all of the manufactured goods across the Hudson and everyone moved their operations to New Jersey or elsewhere. There are a lot of modern manufacturing companies that were founded in NYC between 1870 and 1930.

As someone who works in manufacturing, the number of textiles factories I expected to see in the garment district was 0, not 20+ lol.


drpvn t1_ja9fh9u wrote

We can both agree that there are more garment industry jobs in the garment district than you expected.


[deleted] t1_ja9gqc6 wrote



drpvn t1_ja9guyl wrote

> There were only 12,750 textiles employees in the US in 2021, of course there aren’t 150k just in Manhattan.

We also agree there aren’t 150,000 textile jobs in Manhattan today.


D14DFF0B t1_ja8jgre wrote

Also, the Fidi floorplans for converted apartmenuare shitty. I don't think I've ever seen a good one. So much wasted interior space


curiiouscat t1_ja9eyjh wrote

> The FiDi ones that were converted had the floorplates to do so

IDK dude, there are some seriously funky apartments in FiDi lol very long, winding hallways to get to a window.


LoneStarTallBoi t1_ja9nmna wrote

Landlords will never do a single thing without also acting like they're Jesus on the cross.


pixel_of_moral_decay t1_ja84q62 wrote

Lots of places have done conversions like this.

It’s not a difficult engineering task.

The issue is the buildings are financed/leveraged over the idea of 15-30 year leases and residential leases are 1 year. That changes the economics substantially.


karmapuhlease t1_ja8dv44 wrote

It's a very difficult architectural task, depending on the floorplate. Lots of office buildings have way too few windows relative to their surface areas, and people don't want long skinny apartments with just one or two windows.


SSG_SSG_BloodMoon t1_ja8iouk wrote

> people don't want long skinny apartments with just one or two windows.

But what if it's....... cheaper

"People don't want" is kind of an insane thing to say about housing in Manhattan. If the place has downsides, make it cheaper, ta-da people want it


coffeeshopslut t1_ja8r3r5 wrote

Well you need to change the building code and multiple dwelling code. You need light and air or mechanical ventilation for living areas. Hence the set backs, the courtyards etc of older buildings


SSG_SSG_BloodMoon t1_ja8ssy3 wrote

That's all true but not particularly relevant to the diad of comments you've responded to here.


coffeeshopslut t1_ja8ulrd wrote

But it's part of the reason you can't just throw up walls in old offices and call them apartments, even in cheap, poorly laid out form. Or am I missing part of the conversation?


SSG_SSG_BloodMoon t1_ja8w909 wrote

One way to solve the light and air requirements is to make long spindly apartments with windows and bedrooms at one end. That is the starting point of the prior comments. Adding "but also, you need to solve the light and air requirements" is misplaced.


karmapuhlease t1_ja9crn3 wrote

It might not be financially viable, with either reduced sale prices or longer selling periods (to unload these terrible layout apartments), especially with interest rates being much much higher now (so construction loans are very expensive and mortgages are higher for would-be buyers).


SSG_SSG_BloodMoon t1_ja9frlv wrote

It is absolutely financially viable to sell or rent a space that is receiving 0 income otherwise. It's just not what they want.

The places don't need lots of work to turn into apartments. They need lots of work to turn into lots of apartments.

There is a point between "leave it almost as is and rent out as many units as there are existing bathrooms" and an extreme retrofit to maximize the number of units that becomes worth it. The former scenario is still better than getting nothing.


blackfire932 t1_ja949nv wrote

The people not wanting them can also apply to the landlords having to rent them at a lower cost and brokers having to show them and make less. Most “new” apartments I have seen have all been “luxury” apartments to cater to these groups. I mean its midtown, a semi desirable area, so the people not wanting them might also be those that demand luxury at the price points the other groups want. So golden fixtures and marble countertops mean nothing if I cant instagram my view from my window.


ehsurfskate t1_jaamank wrote

Right and "cheaper" is the issue. The landlord would need to do a ton of work, devalue an overleveraged building, and after everything end up with residential units that are "cheap" so there is no money to be made.

It would probably be better in the long run to tear down the buildings and put up residential in its place. That would be worth the tax subsidies.


SSG_SSG_BloodMoon t1_jab68ed wrote

At a certain point "devaluing a building" is better than paying taxes on an empty building that no one can do anything profitable with.

Also at a certain point, doing a small amount of wall work and renting out as many huge residential units as there are bathrooms in the building is better than paying taxes on an empty building that no one else can do anything profitable with.

Like you're talking about the renovations being too expensive... Is that a reason to endlessly hold the property, pay taxes on it, and get nothing forever? No. It's a reason to lower your expectations. It's a reason for your asking price to go down until you're back on the demand curve.


ehsurfskate t1_jac4fjp wrote

You make some points but also have the underlying assumption of zero office tenants. With all the cost and devaluation of that work it might even be worth it for the owners to just hold on at 20-30% occupancy and hope the offices gradually fill back up. Plus, if the space is vacant they get tax breaks so the hit is not as bad.

Again, not saying it’s impossible but with a 100 million dollar investment owners will do everything they can to get that back before cutting bait and spending money on a reno.


Dantheking94 t1_ja90rli wrote

People don’t want? Are you kidding??? A long skinny apartment is still an apartment, and it’s better than having roommates to some people. I promise you,, those spaces would be rented.


firstWWfantasyleague t1_ja9582r wrote

Absolutely. How could you look at all of the absurd and shitty situations and apartments that people currently live in in this city and think they would object to living a decent, newly remodeled apartment in Manhattan just because it has less than ideal natural light?


Dantheking94 t1_ja975zn wrote

Agreed!! I think just one room having natural light is enough for most people! It could be the living room! I know for me, my bedroom doesn’t need natural light, I use the really thick light blocking curtains anyway.


karmapuhlease t1_ja9cybb wrote

Yes, they would be rented, but all else equal they would be less desirable than units with better floor plans. That means the sale and rental prices would be lower, which might make some of the projects unviable, especially given high interest rates right now.


MarquisEXB t1_jaajbas wrote

People don't want = owners can't charge the high rent they'd want to.

So instead of a luxury apartment, with super rich folks, you might only get an expensive apartment with people that can barely afford it. And every building owner thinks they deserve the former.


Strawbalicious t1_ja87lz9 wrote

I think the bigger issue more than leases, is building codes. In converting most office buildings into residences, you'd have a lot of rooms and even whole units without any windows on the inside of the building. The city would need to give special exception building permits to let that go through.


pixel_of_moral_decay t1_ja8iqw9 wrote

You can go for longer units. You can also do what has been done in other parts of the world and have commercial on the interior with its own elevators and walls separating. A doctors office or even retail on the same floor with separate elevators is totally possible.

This kind of stuff is already normal in parts of Asia. The US just has a fixation on residential being over anything else, not on the same level.


Dantheking94 t1_ja90hrd wrote

I completely agree! Longer units with maybe kitchens and bathrooms close to the interior and living rooms and bedrooms closer to the windows. They can also use the interior spaces for communal spaces like laundry, day care centers, gyms, small shops and stores etc. if they really wanted to make this work, they would. It takes some creativity and some time.


blackfire932 t1_ja93add wrote

This probably requires new permitting laws. I haven’t seen mixed-use floors for commercial and residential. Definitely have seen mixed use where the floor is all commercial or residential, but this would be problematic. At the end of the day zoning laws and associated costs are what limit development more than anything.


masahawk t1_ja880fc wrote

This is the Crux of it since every room needs a Windows for ventilation purposes. You can Malena windowless room but man that room will suck.


MillardFillmore t1_ja8st41 wrote

> It’s not a difficult engineering task.

No, it very much is difficult and expensive. Consider how many toilets and sinks are on a floor and where they are located in an office building. There's probably a sink in the break room and a row or two of toilets, separated by gender. Now split up the floor plan into 6 apartments. Where do you set up (at least) 5 extra bathrooms and kitchens without completely ripping up the floors, which are probably concrete? Can the building handle that much water and and sewage out?


pixel_of_moral_decay t1_ja8tfxi wrote

This is done all the time. You just use the walls so you don’t violate the floor plate.

Wall mounted toilets are common in retrofits. They’re so common most Home Depot’s have them in stock. It’s not even a special order kinda thing. I can walk out with one in an hour.


enjinnx t1_ja8lqcp wrote

It can be a difficult engineering task. The sewer connection alone will probably require a hydraulic study to ensure the existing city sewer can handle the expected increase in waste from the building.


pixel_of_moral_decay t1_ja8lzs2 wrote

City sewers used to handle substantially more from industrial uses years ago.

Residential puts a fraction of the stress on water/sewer.


grambell789 t1_ja8a857 wrote

lots of the old buildings in fidi had smaller floor plans so it was easier to make residential rooms with windows to the outside. Newer office floor plans are much bigger and depend on mechanical ventilation. it will be interesting how they use those spaces in residences. Not saying its not possible, there are challenges.


youvebeengreggd t1_ja8g0kt wrote

Midtown would flourish with more permanent residents.


kinky_boots t1_ja8kmwc wrote

Absolutely, you’ll have people living there contributing to the tax base, shopping there locally, neighborhoods will thrive again.


mowotlarx t1_ja8gef9 wrote

Most food spots still close at 4pm/5pm in FiDi. It's still a ghost town after the 9-5. The businesses here refuse to adapt and make an attempt to service the few people who actually live here.


TheAJx t1_ja8uofc wrote

The area around Fulton St / Pace University and Wall is pretty active. Also the area between WTC and Chambers ( though some call that Tribeca) where there's a lot of residents and tourists.

Evertyhing south of that though, dead. It's a lot better in the summer.


MarquisEXB t1_jaajkip wrote

Clearly you've never been to Stone Street. There's tons of places open south of Fulton st.


TheAJx t1_jaao1no wrote

I'm thinking of mixed residential/commercial/food, not a contained happy hour places. Though I agree that Stone Street is a nice place, though much quieter than it used to be pre-pandemic.


MarquisEXB t1_jaawu20 wrote

Other than Stone Street, and not just bars (so not Stout, not Killarney, etc.) you also have Giardino D'Oro, Mezcali, Hey Thai, Blue Ribbon Sushi, Industry Kitchen, Tacombi, Reserve Cut, and Felice. Then you have the UrbanSpace that opened up recently with lots of food options (and a Top Hops craft beer/bottled beer place!)

Oh and a Whole Foods opened up near Wall/Bway.


joyousRock t1_jabh282 wrote

That Urban Space is cool but damn is it pricey


ctindel t1_jadwsvr wrote

Also Fraunces Tavern which is great.


MarquisEXB t1_jab03qn wrote

This is not at all true. It was mostly true pre-2000, but not even close anymore.


nahmahnahm t1_ja8f1xf wrote

Yep! I lived in one of those buildings in the very early 00s. It was fine. Clearly redone as quickly and cheaply as possible. Fugly parquet floors.


TheAJx t1_ja8fzd0 wrote

They won't do it if the economic value isnt' there. We should examine where there are opportunities to reduce the costs of making these conversions happen, especially if there's no tangible impact from reducing the regulations.


Bilbotreasurekeeper t1_ja8n7lc wrote

The first two years will be a financial loss for the office space owners. After two three years max they'd make a profit. They're just wineing to get some tax breaks.

Don't believe their hype. They'll make money off it In three years max


TheAJx t1_ja8plus wrote

Okay, let's take tax breaks off the table. Do you think some zoning restrictions can go away? Perhaps the requirement that every bedroom have a window? Maybe loosen some plumbing regulations. Are these things we can concede on if it reduces the cost of conversions? Or are we going to cling to everything.


Neoliberalism2024 t1_ja80pnz wrote

The article isn’t about sympathy or whinning, it’s factually discussing the issue.


MRC1986 t1_ja8b5zh wrote

Buildings can “learn to code”


mowotlarx t1_ja9nwxm wrote

Lucky for them, the city is cutting corners in enforcement left and right thanks to Eric Adams. They'd be fine trying out whatever they want and crossing their fingers.


Particular-Wedding t1_jac6n0n wrote

The only coding they can do is changing the zoning codes to residential. Good luck with that as the price is prohibitive to gut and convert a building. Not to mention hire lawyers, accountants architect lobbyists etc. It may be cheaper to just demolition the whole building and start from scratch.


TheAJx t1_ja87646 wrote

As a city, we have "no sympathy, no sorry"-ed ourselves into the nations highest rents and housing costs. Deleterious zero sum thinking. Annoying.


random314 t1_ja89y4o wrote

Yes but to be fair workers absolutely whine about jobs going obsolete.


MRC1986 t1_ja8bkml wrote

Buildings can “learn to code”


sokpuppet1 t1_ja8hmp2 wrote

They’re trying to figure out how to mandate by law that everyone has to go into the office


ZweitenMal t1_ja8hwgu wrote

BINGO. Path of least resistance, for them. They'll come around in time.


MaizeNBlueWaffle t1_jaea23p wrote

Weird how the government only caters to and forgives rich people and capital owners in our society. Almost like it's all rigged in their favor...


mowotlarx t1_ja9nkzl wrote

Us: Maybe you could lure back some tenants by reducing the rents and cutting the offices into smaller sections to attract small businesses!



drpvn t1_ja7veg4 wrote

Whether you have sympathy is absolutely irrelevant.


sirzoop t1_ja81fj6 wrote

Wow, this means 1 in 4 offices is now vacant. Crazy to think they went from 9% to 22% vacant in a few months

>The real estate firm CBRE estimated early last year that remote work would shrink the amount of needed office space by 9% — then increased that figure to 15% at the end of last year. Reflecting that reduced demand, the vacancy rate for Manhattan’s 415 million square feet of office space at the end of last year soared to a record 22.2%, according to Cushman & Wakefield.


BigMoose9000 t1_ja8lp8n wrote

Honestly surprised it's that low

If there was a way to measure "under lease but effectively vacant" it'd probably be a lot higher


mr_feenys_car t1_ja8w53f wrote

my company is in this situation now.

signed a 5-year, full-floor lease immediately before the pandemic. absolute worst timing for it. during COVID we shifted to a more dispersed org structure.

outside of a few corporate on-sites and team-building days, no one is in the office. i go in once every couple months just to switch things up, but it's a ghost town. can't even use it to host client-facing meetings, because it makes us look like a scam company.


WatchesAndNYC t1_ja9lxca wrote

A company I work with did a 30 year 10 full floors of a building in 2018, and the staff is now completely remote except a small team I’m on that meets there once a month. It’s absolutely insane to see it so empty. All that space, all that money, just going to waste. They leave the lights on 24/7 just to help the city look a bit more alive haha


columbo928s4 t1_ja9tke0 wrote

can the company not sublease it out?


pedalbot_0785 t1_ja9z42e wrote

to whom tho?


columbo928s4 t1_ja9zsd8 wrote

yeah i mean that's the big challenge, but i assume if they're willing to take a substantial haircut on the $/sqft they can find a tenant, and having a tenant pay any portion of their fixed lease costs seems preferable to just eating the full cost of a 30 year 10 floor lease if they are legitimately never using the space


ctindel t1_jadwcvl wrote

Signing a 30 year lease for office space just seems so stupid at face value anyway even before the pandemic.


kiklion t1_ja8qyxl wrote

Like places that are under lease but only 50% or less utilized due to hybrid/WFH companies who don’t plan on renewing or downsizing if they do?


BigMoose9000 t1_ja9cjfb wrote

Yea, commercial leases are typically for longer terms. My company has a couple offices they've been trying to sublease for years now that are basically abandoned. When the leases expire it's hard to imagine the landlords will have any more luck.


hjablowme919 t1_ja9rqom wrote

Two months ago I would have been surprised it was that low. However, as I have been applying for jobs in NYC, I see more and more jobs requiring you to be in the office at least 3 days a week. I just told a recruiter "No" to a job that requires 5 days a week in the office. I told him "Do they know it's 2023? Who is asking for 5 days a week in the office for a tech job?"


DkTwVXtt7j1 t1_ja8zzvy wrote

Yeah my office is under lease but we aren't renewing. The number will grow.


secretactorian t1_ja9m8qm wrote

That was my former office. Room for 30, but maybe 3-5 ppl were in on a 1 day/week basis.

They're in a CBRE office and looking to downgrade but there aren't any smaller spaces in the building. A lot of the small spaces are being or have been snatched up. Gonna cost them a lot to break the lease.


pudgypanda69 t1_ja8l96n wrote

With all these offices going vacant, anyone know where I can pick up a free ergonomic desk chair?


Knightnday t1_ja98lbn wrote

there's actually folks getting paid to clear out these office furniture so that the company can get their deposit back. you can probably get these chairs like 75% off retail on craigslist.


mercyful_fade t1_jaci5i4 wrote

Funny I saw a nice one on 21st Street after work last night


GettingPhysicl t1_ja8fnk2 wrote

the priority should not be for it to be a great option. they made a bet we would want office buildings and we dont. thats capitalism lol. cut the subsidies tax breaks etc for office buildings we dont need and they can decide to convert it and make some money, or make no money.


MarbleFox_ t1_ja91mvg wrote

We need a tax on unoccupied residential and commercial spaces. If an owner can’t get a unit occupied, then it’s time to revamp and/or drop the price to get it occupied. Not just sit on it and wait for times to change.


WatchesAndNYC t1_ja9m0xd wrote

Don’t we have that? Isn’t it just called property tax?


MarbleFox_ t1_ja9t1ka wrote

The property tax rate you pay isn’t influenced by whether or not the property is occupied.


GeorgeWBush2016 t1_jaa3jny wrote

property taxes are passed on to a commercial tenant in the lease, so normally an owner only pays them during a vacancy.


MarbleFox_ t1_jaafhxp wrote

I understand that, my point is that unoccupied property should have a higher tax rate or an additional tax.

If a commercial space is occupied by a company, it generate tax revenue on the money it makes and the income its employees get paid. If, however, the commercial space is unoccupied it does not generate that revenue so the owner should have to pay additional taxes to make up for that.


Status_Fox_1474 t1_jaajpsa wrote

But then those rents are essentially losses. Keep the losses on paper, all good.


mowotlarx t1_ja8g74p wrote

They can keep wishing and praying things go back to the status quo pre-covid but it's not happening. At the very least these owners could reduce the rent significantly to make it easier for large and small offices to get smaller amounts of space. They won't even do that.

So why are we taking these people seriously when they won't even make the most basic choices to lure people back to office spaces, if they truly don't think conversion is an option?


drpvn t1_ja7uyyy wrote

Here comes another thread of nitwits who didn’t read the article and who have no curiosity about the details of residential conversion offering their irrelevant view that they don’t feel sorry for landlords.


ZweitenMal t1_ja7x64b wrote

I read the entire article, because i have a background in commercial real estate, construction, and architecture and the topic interests me.

They are business owners. If you have a business and your market disappears, too bad. That was a risk you ran. Your investment is no longer profitable, so convert the business into something that is profitable, or lose your money.


-wnr- t1_ja874bo wrote

It's not as easy as owners just deciding to do a conversion. The article discusses some real challenges that stand in the way. Even buildings with a lot of vacancy still have some long term commercial tenants still on lease, or a company with no experience with conversions may look to sell to someone who does, or zoning changes might be needed first. There's a lot of things that takes time and bog down the process.


CaptainObvious1906 t1_ja8dpxa wrote

much of the challenge seems to be zoning, conversion laws created before the pandemic and developers whining for tax breaks. I also don’t understand how we have politicians who don’t support doing everything in their power to remove the red tape and allow owners to convert their buildings more easily.


drpvn t1_ja7xh3e wrote

Of course business owners run a risk of losing a lot of money. This is not an interesting statement.


ZweitenMal t1_ja7zxjf wrote

Then they shouldn't be whining about it.


GVas22 t1_ja88axf wrote

Did you read the article? I don't see any of these responses as "whining".

Developers got asked why they haven't converted office buildings and the responses are:

  • Building code requires large overhauls in the buildings structure that would be costly. Especially with the large increase in interest rates, finding funding for these projects is much more difficult now.

  • Residential conversions are not something they are experienced in and would most likely need to outsource the job or sell the building.

  • And the biggest one, even if they wanted to convert they legally are not allowed to because of zoning laws and need the government to step in to rezone districts.

Giving, in my opinion, legitimate reason on why these conversion haven't happened yet is not developers crying about people not coming back to the office.


ZweitenMal t1_ja8ddly wrote

That's pretty rich considering the real estate lobby is able to buy decisions that favor them all the time. The problem is these conversions will cost money and hurt their profits in the short term and they don't like that. They'd rather sit with easy excuses and write the temporarily money-losing properties off against their profitable ones.


drpvn t1_ja80b5a wrote

The only ones whining here are you (whining about landlords) and me (whining about you).


flightwaves t1_ja81zp4 wrote

Look who’s whining though lmao


drpvn t1_ja85gnz wrote

> But obstacles facing Midtown are many. They include the need for legislation from Albany to relax strict rules for residential housing, rezoning to allow apartments in what are now commercial districts, a tax break if affordable units are required, and generally daunting economics.

>What’s more, even properties with many vacancies typically still have some office tenants in place. Ten-year leases are common.

>“Most office buildings are encumbered by existing office tenant leases and typically have to be emptied before being converted,” said Max Herzog, a specialist in financing conversions at the real estate firm JLL. “Deeper, bigger floor plates and other structural elements are often problems, there is a need for changes in the zoning and increased floor area ratios, and then there is also the financing.”

sToP WhininG, i hAVE No sYmpaThY!


marketingguy420 t1_ja85i7f wrote

But "this is expensive and hard and I am a landlord", a thing we are all aware of, is an interesting statement, which they've repeated many times.

And your defense of them is an interesting statement.

And you complaining about people not caring is an interesting statement.



drpvn t1_ja85npm wrote

Lol 420


AgentBester t1_ja8e0wu wrote

Yes, when you can't win resort to insults. You are always in these threads taking it on the chin; I guess masochism is a valid kink.


drpvn t1_ja8e7uj wrote

That was quite cruel of me when I mocked the “420” in the username of a man who is obviously a very serious person worthy of respect.


sokpuppet1 t1_ja8ijez wrote

The landlords are exaggerating how hard it is to convert these buildings. Bottom line, they just don’t want to lose money, which is what will happen.


guisar t1_ja8za2c wrote

I'm going to guess these places have LARGE commercial loans against them and the covenants prevent the space from converting as the bank would call in the loan if they attempt and that the places are underwater enough that refinancing isn't an option. If it's an REIT, they are just sitting on the tax benefits.


Artitic_Camel t1_ja9i0mx wrote

Yup, discussing anything complex on social media is pretty much always a mistake. There is no competency requirement


soyeahiknow t1_ja8l6oo wrote

I work in construction. The engineering itself will be a shitshow. Structural and MEP engineering cost will be skyhigh due to the headache.


jae343 t1_ja9icj8 wrote

I work in architecture and the amount of bureaucracy you have to get through for this to work will be hilarious. Better be issuing exceptions and amendments everywhere, I think figuring out how to run shafts and plumbing is least of your problems.


y0shicity t1_ja8fryt wrote

Has anyone come across an apartment listing of a recently converted office space? I'd be curious to see the final product.


MillardFillmore t1_ja8tqrq wrote

I know someone who lived in a converted office in FiDi. The building itself was fine, it seemed like any other luxury tower in the area, and the building's exterior was cool, but the hallways and floorplans were really weird because they needed to be long and snake around other stuff.

This building was built in the 1930s, I bet living in an office building made after they all became glass boxes would be a lot worse.


fockyou t1_ja99g7w wrote

>I bet living in an office building made after they all became glass boxes would be a lot worse.

If the issue is the windows, tint that shit! For all other issues associated with glass box offices, yeah.. I've got nothing. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


Particular-Wedding t1_jac6tuv wrote

How quiet or noisy are these building conversions? Can you hear neighbors stomping upstairs or blasting stereos?


GVas22 t1_ja9gfj7 wrote

I had friends that lived at 200 water street, which was a conversion. There's definitely some quirks since the building has windows going around the entire outside so walls get put right up to the glass. You can kind of see it in the bathroom pickutet in this listing.

Overall it's not too bad and you only really notice it when it gets pointed out to you.


MaizeNBlueWaffle t1_jaeaefl wrote

No, but I imagine they will be unaffordable for most people just like every other new apartment in this city


stoopidjonny t1_ja8hyf6 wrote

I think people would likely come back if they have actual offices instead of the open office panopticon.


mowotlarx t1_ja9pgvw wrote

It's funny because the "solution" companies have come up with is to have "hotel" desks where you not only still work in a cubicle farm, but you share an empty desk with other staffers on your off days.


GeorgeWBush2016 t1_jaa4e1e wrote

in my experience this leads to half of the work stations not functioning; missing mouse, headset, or keyboard, or some other problem.


ctindel t1_jadwwbp wrote

Who uses workstations anymore? Just bring your laptop in.


down_up__left_right t1_jaa6j0i wrote

Companies will never pay for working setups as good and quiet most people make for themselves at home.


G00d_One t1_ja8tlxt wrote

Damn, developers are just recovering from all those costly warehouse-to-home conversions in Brooklyn. Poor things


rabbiddolphin8 t1_ja8tz1g wrote

I was reading that a lot of firms have either gone full remote or have played their hands right and had the ability to get into luxury offices where normally they couldn't. This has left a lot of regular offices vacant obviously. It will be really tough to convert them and the landlords are probably going to want subsidies for conversions. That being said though making Manhattan more affordable could be fantastic for local businesses.


WasherDrye t1_ja7p7mg wrote

Cool. They have thoughts. There’s a file for those: Irrelevancy.


HashtagDadWatts t1_ja7ppk0 wrote

It seems like the thoughts of property owners are highly relevant.


Topher1999 t1_ja7q3by wrote

As much as I’d like Kathy Hochul to nationalize office buildings, property owners are pretty relevant in this discussion.


korpus01 t1_ja7umm3 wrote

I think the reference is that the property owners have many thoughts, even more desires, a million of ideas, and it seems time to mulch over them. Which is another way of saying chewing fat.

However, I would imagine when your money and investments are on the line, while it is prudent to concider all possibilities in order to make the best economic decision, some sort of decision is better than loosing value or potential revenue for every day that a decision is not reached.

In other words, measure twice or thrice, perhaps thirty times if needed, but cut once.


TheAJx t1_ja88juf wrote

I would probably want to learn the thoughts and motivations of a business that has a significant impact on my life, especially since this vertical is my number cost of living expense.

It's okay to learn something, and take facts and thoughts into consideration. I promise you, it's fine.


marketingguy420 t1_ja85tpr wrote

It's sad how limited our civic imagination is these days. Because you're right, we should just nationalize the buildings and begin conversion right now. Instead, this will drag on for years, and years, and years.


jumbod666 t1_ja86z3n wrote

Can’t nationalize office buildings. First we aren’t communist. Second the US constitution calls for compensation upon the taking of property.


asah t1_ja8dx69 wrote

what's FMV on an empty, money-losing office building with zero prospects ? $1 ?


GettingPhysicl t1_ja8gisv wrote

we are whatever enough of us vote to be. fly the red flag high comrade

no but really nationalizing them is too much work. remove tax incentives for office buildings, fix the zoning and regulatory issues with conversions. after that the business owners can make their own decisions. if its keeping buildings we dont particularly need at a loss, thats kinda their business. but dont reward them for it


johncester t1_jaa92hf wrote

Plumbing is the problem


PurpleCopper t1_jabcdk2 wrote

oh boy, can't wait for next year's budget shortfall for the city.


Calm-Heat-5883 t1_ja93w1h wrote

If they do manage to turn the offices into apartments. Then those looking to rent or buy need to lowball the offers. 3 bedroom apartment for $1200 tied in for years. The knock-on effect will be felt in all the boroughs of NYC and further out. Renting or buying will once again become affordable for real New Yorkers.


jae343 t1_ja9hszh wrote

Lol how is that even remotely feasible? You think these developers are running a charity? A lot of talk as usual but how will you finance that even with a tax break?


Calm-Heat-5883 t1_jadiecx wrote

It's feasible if people suddenly decide enough is enough. Imagine if they spend money converting offices to apartments ( that's not really going to work) but nobody buys or rents an apartment. They are left sitting on property that costs them money. NYC prices are crazy and the knock-on effect hurts house buyers and renters alike. A friend of mine sold his parent's house for around $600,000 back 2003/4. His parents paid $53,000 for it back in the 70s. The houses in my area are going $1.3 million on average. You tell me how a house that is built for less than $53,000 (because builders have to have made a profit on the sale) is now worth $1.3 million and up? The property market is being controlled and bought by companies that don't want the ordinary citizen to be able to buy even a starter home. Ask your grandparents how they were able to buy a house car have holidays etc on one salary. While today both people have to work just to rent a 2 bedroom apartment. And the second bedroom is barely large enough to put bunkbeds in.


jae343 t1_jadlu01 wrote

Because inflation and demand, my house was worth $300k in 2000 now it's close to a million. My neighborhood isn't wealthy at all but it attracts working class families that can afford decent mortgages.

And to answer your question if I'm a real estate agent or not why does that matter...? But no I'm not. Although but I understand the absolutely stupid bureaucracy to get things done in this city, the technical feasibility in terms of construction, design, code, finances, etc more than your average person.


Griever114 t1_jac4syd wrote

They can afford it. I have no sympathy for real estate owners or landlords


jae343 t1_jacixf2 wrote

This ain't about sympathy, you're all about emotions not actual practicality or feasibility. Plenty of that here, just don't see real solutions mostly useless rants.


MG5thAve t1_jaagbxk wrote

Interesting move, considering most companies are starting to call their employees back.


P0stNutClarity t1_ja88kts wrote

These conversions are EXTREMELY difficult and costly.

And in many cases its just unfeasible.

Source: I work for a property manager/developer. They are not easy by any means but the reddit go to is JuSt CoNvErT tO HoUsInG.


CaptainObvious1906 t1_ja8e36u wrote

only if we don’t make exceptions for this once-in-lifetime pandemic event. why don’t our politicians have any imagination for doing what would benefit the city?


KaiDaiz t1_ja8nk5n wrote

Sure convert them all to residential. Next complaint will be with all this influx of units that most can't afford to rent increased the city vacancy rate above 5% thus ending rent stabilization. Real estate lobby prob dreaming of this day.


DifficultyNext7666 t1_ja82zoi wrote

So while I think they should renovate, I'm not going to fucking live in midtown. Midtown sucks.

I'm not sure many people with money like to live in midtown. I mean there are Apts there so I must be wrong but I've never met someone who lives there. And these apartments are going to be expensive

Edit: for clarity


ntbananas t1_ja83opo wrote

I agree that midtown wouldn't be my first choice at this stage in life (though I was in the 50s for my first apartment out of college). I think the long-term goal is to make midtown less shitty by having it become more residential, somewhat similar to the financial district.

It will never be trendy (at least not for the next few decades) but it can certainly offer more housing stock for people looking to get more bang for their buck and potentially reduce demand elsewhere.

In summary: not for me, but good luck I guess


TheAJx t1_ja87nsd wrote

> I think the long-term goal is to make midtown less shitty by having it become more residential, somewhat similar to the financial district.

The goal is really to build houses where there is capacity to do so. 25 year olds don't have a problem catching a cab or taking the bus/subway to go wherever they want to go. I'm sure many of them would jump on the opportunity to live somewhere with more space or lower rents and still be close to all of Manhattan's amenities. When i was 25 years old the distance of places wasn't really much of an obstacle to me.


DifficultyNext7666 t1_ja8arc2 wrote

Which I get but I don't think the housing will be cheap is my point which I clearly didnt articulate


GVas22 t1_ja86vr5 wrote

You might not live there, but somebody will.

And those people who want to live in the city and are willing to live in midtown cuts down on demand for the neighborhoods you'd want to live in.


d4ng3rz0n3 t1_ja8bnux wrote

I liked living in Midtown near Grand Central, because I could walk to my office in under 10 minutes, and get to anywhere else in the city very quickly via Grand Central, or even by walking. My part of Midtown East/Murray Hill (Park Ave in the 30s) was very residential too.

End of the day, having more units online is better for everyone.


PhonyPapi t1_ja84lwi wrote

Same could be said for LIC not that long ago.


MRC1986 t1_ja8bk9v wrote

It’s a lot easier to build new residential towers than to convert office towers.


PhonyPapi t1_ja8fwfn wrote

My point was more there are plenty of places where most thought “x place sucks I’m never going to live there” and now it’s not necessarily the same thought.


MRC1986 t1_ja8y72x wrote

I agree. But it's a lot easier to make LIC not suck when you just tear down some warehouses and build brand new residential towers such that you create a residential community, vs retrofitting office towers in Midtown.


TheAJx t1_ja87f9f wrote

I'm sure 20 years ago a lot of people though Financial District sucks and that no one would want to live there either. Since then, the population has exploded from 20K to 60K.

People will live there if there is affordability. The same thing happened with Fidi, which consistently had lower rents and housing prices than the rest of lower Manhattan.


DifficultyNext7666 t1_ja8alh9 wrote

Why would there be affordability when it'd so expensive to reno this units?


TheAJx t1_ja8ecno wrote

Renovating the units is at least in part expensive due to zoning regulations, per the article. We should look for opportunities to remove these obstacles where they make sense. This reduces the cost of reno.

Bringing more apartments into the supply has a rent reducing effect.

Financial district was significantly cheaper than most of Manhattan up until a few years ago, despite the expense of renovating apartments down there.


drpvn t1_ja83x5s wrote

I like midtown. Except for the junkies.


HEIMDVLLR t1_ja83s3v wrote

No need to panic, congestion tolls will fix everything. /s


D14DFF0B t1_ja8l5ok wrote

Children, this is what happens to your brain when you orient everything in your life around cars.


HEIMDVLLR t1_ja8nsa5 wrote

> Children, this is what happens to your brain when you orient everything in your life around cars.

Glad you said it and not me, I’m conversing with kids who haven’t lived long enough to see the ebbs and flow of NYC population/hype/cultural shifts.