Who would have thought Alexandria, Va., would take second place, just behind Los Angeles, in office-to-residential conversions in 2022? That’s what Rent Café reported last year.
The credit goes to location, luck and good development partners, says one of Alexandria’s principal planners, Maya Contreras, in an article published by Bisnow.
Alexandria’s conversion appeal also stems from structural factors. Christina Mindrup, vice president of real estate at Alexandria Economic Development Partnership, told Bisnow that the presence of standalone buildings, and floor plates that are generally smaller than those in larger cities, makes for easier conversions.
Most of the conversions are near Alexandria’s Old Town neighborhood, according to Bisnow. Completed projects include:
- Park + Ford: USAA Real Estate (now Affinius Capital) and Lowe converted three 1980s office buildings into 435 apartment units and 115,000 square feet of office space.
- Town Gate North: Brookfield Residential transformed two former office buildings into 81 condo units.
- 801 North Fairfax: Abramson Properties converted a 60,000-square-foot office building formerly occupied by the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce into 54 condos.
Additional projects are in the conversion process or planning stages.
It doesn’t hurt that the city is developer-friendly. A program in Old Town North allows developers to add density if they include space for community arts use, Bisnow reports. Mindrup says the city is also adept at working with the state government to provide developers with incentives.
Adapted from “How Alexandria Has Become a National Leader in Office-to-Residential Conversion,” written by Emily Wishingrad and published in the Aug. 17, 2023, edition of Bisnow.