September 27, 2022

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Adaptive Reuse: Why Consider Converting Existing Buildings into Student Housing

The have to have for student housing across the region is continuous as at any time, with the National Multifamily Housing Council estimating that the pupil housing marketplace will develop from 8.5 million beds in 2020 to 9.2 million by 2031. The continued sector expansion generates quite a few opportunities for constructing entrepreneurs to capitalize on renewed need.   

When new design improvement chances carry on to sense tiredness because of to ongoing huge scale provide chain and labor challenges, a person beneficial system for builders and building owners is to contemplate transforming present belongings into modern-day pupil housing by adaptive reuse.

[Related: New Adaptive Reuse Project to Radically Transform Asheville’s River Arts District]

The Rewards  

To commence, repurposing an existing construction vs. floor-up progress can yield significant price financial savings for proprietors. It not only lowers the original capital investment required, but also allows ease present-day sector problems all over inflation, capitalization rates, supply chain shortages and expanding labor prices. 

Yet another variable to take into account is timing. University student housing is extremely time sensitive—if a job isn’t introduced online 30-45 days ahead of the academic 12 months, entrepreneurs possibly need to devote further money on temporary housing accommodations for tenants right up until their units are entire or builders threat a delay in return on financial commitment by keeping the housing stock right until the following year, which most typically is cataclysmic to a project’s success and a developer’s standing.  

But, if you appraise a task via the lens of adaptive reuse, the complete style and construction tactic changes simply because projects aren’t starting off from scratch. Development timelines can be streamlined to help make sure the product or service is obtaining to market place on plan and house owners are yielding most returns as they initially prepared in their underwriting. 

Also, adaptive reuse opens the doorway for developers to reuse and rehabilitate alternatives that exist on key campus-adjacent genuine estate, and when it will come to pupil housing, locale is every thing.  

For illustration, in School Station, Texas, in which Texas A&M College is found, web site site and charge of land can be prohibitive for several creating entrepreneurs entering the marketplace. Kitchen area & Associates labored carefully with Haven Campus Communities to remodel an getting older dormitory asset right next to campus that was not only underneath-utilized, but severely out of touch with the modern-day pupil.  

By having a very imaginative design solution, we renovated this dilapidated dormitory into a condition-of-the-artwork “market rate” apartment neighborhood, now identified as The Custom at Northgate, that offers contemporary dwelling lodging, finest-in-course amenities, a new amenity courtyard that incorporates a pool/warm tub, and a large range of energetic and passive outdoor activities. As well as, all of this was in a position to be interconnected by way of state-of-the-art residence management technological know-how. The Tradition at Northgate will serve generations of Texas A&M learners for a long time to appear and would have never occurred if the developer didn’t consider this possibility as a result of the distinctive lens of adaptive reuse. 

[Related: How to Build Better Buildings]

The Tradition at Northgate 2
The Custom at Northgate characteristics greatest-in-class amenities, like a new courtyard with a pool and hot tub, as well as a broad array of outside things to do. Courtesy of Kitchen area & Associates.

Sustainability is also a principal profit of adaptive reuse, which is not only significant to the existing era of eco-mindful renters but also has several positive aspects for creating house owners. For instance, repurposing present buildings and retaining making products, these as piping and plumbing devices, on-web site considerably lowers the project’s carbon footprint and minimizes demolition particles and developing squander. In reality, research have found that repurposing structures can help save up to 40% in greenhouse gas emissions. Nearby municipalities may also provide tax credits and other incentives for environmentally friendly procedures and the renovation of pre-existing buildings that are deserted and prepared for repositioning.   

When it will come to university student housing, we made use of to often discuss about the “amenities arms race”—meaning proprietors are frequently hoping to a person-up the competitors to supply college students with entry to the newest and best condominium features. Nonetheless, the “amenities arms race” seriously is not a conversing issue any longer thanks to a change in imagined about coming up with for a “lifestyle.”  

Employing an present community asset or properly-regarded campus setting up as college student housing assists maintain the wealthy background and custom of the community and college, which can be a differentiator for your property—especially if the building boasts distinctive capabilities, this kind of as historic windows, uncovered beams or interesting woodwork, that can be included into the structure. One of a kind capabilities like these are just as substantially an amenity because they give the fashionable university student the chance to stay in a area that maintains the prosperous “culture” of the campus and bordering group context. Just like The Tradition at Northgate, when you creatively structure new making features to seamlessly weave alongside one another with a culturally prosperous present asset, you actually conclude up with a special undertaking that normally stands out from the group.  

One more excellent illustration is in Burlington Metropolis, New Jersey, exactly where Kitchen & Associates helped completely transform the previous Burlington City Hotel and Tavern into a mixed-use condominium community. Our designers restored the original character and architectural heritage of the making to make it a truly one-of-a-form dwelling working experience, incorporating totally restored first home windows for greatest purely natural gentle, a wonderful oak staircase and even the refurbished tavern and vintage bar into the layout of the sophisticated.

Which Buildings Perform Best?

So ultimately, what sorts of present structures could be a very good fit for pupil housing? Public structures with present plumbing, HVAC and electrical devices created for hefty professional use and spaces on or in close proximity to campus with substantial open up interiors and pleasing historic features. Examples involve industrial spaces, on-campus dorms and old college buildings. As COVID-19 proceeds to evolve the way the nation life and works, we also foresee an uptick in the redevelopment of less than-utilized, or in some situations, fully vacant business office parks, even dying searching malls, into amenity-rich housing solutions that boast modern-day life style chances. 

In conclusion, building owners need to try to remember that while adaptive reuse initiatives need cautious thought and planning, the economic and environmental advantages can unquestionably outweigh the hazard. Nonetheless, it’s critically important for entrepreneurs to get the job done with a professional architect specializing in asset preservation that really understands their vision and can convey challenge strategies to lifestyle in a remarkably resourceful, successful and inexpensive way.

About the Creator:

Jason Lutz, AIA, is a Senior Associate at Kitchen & Associates and provides in excess of 18 many years of qualified expertise. He co-prospects the College student Housing studio and market plan and controls most elements of architectural design, challenge administration, engineering and interior design coordination for all of these jobs which include on and off-campus work, non-public, goal-designed and community personal partnership ventures.

Study next: What is the Carbon Footprint of Interior Renovations?