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Maxwell Drever: How Should You Evaluate a Hotel for Affordable Workforce Housing Opportunities?

When the hotel industry has taken a beating, and the concerns over the short supply of affordable housing for the middle working class are rife, the idea of converting hotels and motels into housing units seems exciting says Maxwell Drever. There are practical reasons for such consideration. The cost of modifying the existing structure tends to be lower than new construction. Plus, hotels enjoy strategic locations in and around cities, increasing accessibility to healthcare clinics, schools, etc. The workforce group, including young professionals, firefighters, teachers, and others, can benefit because of the affordable rents. If you are aware, workforce housing caters to families that earn about 60 to 120% of median income relevant for the area.

Hotel rooms can efficiently change into smaller apartments of 300 to 500 sq ft. It will be a fantastic situation for working populations as they can rent homes closer to their job centers. On the other hand, hotel owners will witness revenue revival. However, you cannot straight start with the development process. You have to be sure that a specific hotel is worth converting. For this, you have to consider multiple factors.

Building code and construction rules

You cannot transform all the buildings unless they are suitable for construction. In this, you need to understand whether the existing asset requires minor or major renovation. You also have to know things that need fixing to comply with the building code completely. Maxwell Drever informs that the hotel construction code can be stricter than the apartment code. They need to ensure high security for guests. However, most hotels don’t demand too many upgrades as they share similarities with residential units in height, construction, and area. Under this, considerations about structure, accessibility, plumbing, electrical, and energy will matter.


Another critical aspect is the design, adds Maxwell Drever. Hotels differ in terms of location, size, and additional spaces. These can determine their suitability for a specific housing type. For example, affordable workforce housing for households earning only 60% to 120% of the median income doesn’t need a special parking facility. One parking stall can be enough for them. However, on-site services can be more appealing to them.

Permit or entitlement

After examining the constructability and suitability of the hotel for housing, you have to get into the permission part of it.  For this, you have to meet local bodies. There can be zonal restrictions. You will want to figure out ways to use your land for the desired purpose. Plus, knowing the local housing rules and development standards can be helpful. For example, hotel rooms can be comparatively smaller than an average multifamily unit. To meet the requirement, you may have to combine two rooms to satisfy compliance needs.

Like these, there can be many areas that may demand your attention. If you don’t have any experience in the housing market, you can talk to industry experts to understand the entire development and delivery process. It will remove the whole stress from your mind, allowing you to utilize your time and energy at the right place.

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