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Maxwell Drever on Converting Old “Broken” Hotels into Affordable Workforce Housing

The conversion and repurposing of broken hotels into affordable workforce housing space, designed for low-income households, provides several benefits, in an effort to house lower-earning individual families throughout the United States says Maxwell Drever.

The benefits of conversion

Among the benefits created through “broken” hotel to affordable workforce housing conversion are:

  • The lowering of construction costs as compared to the price of new construction.
  • The creation of additional units within the space of the original hotel structure.
  • A substantial and immediate increase in the amount of local affordable workforce housing rental stock.

According to Maxwell Drever, apartments created through these conversions provide varied benefits within highly desirable urban locations, almost always at lower than average rents and higher than expected amenities. The demand for such space demonstrates that converting old hotels into affordable workforce housing meets a fundamental need in many marketplaces across the nation.

The conversion process

The process begins with stabilization of the original hotel structure and preparatory work for the conversion. With the initiation of renovation, old partitions, ceilings, plumbing fixtures, and mechanical systems throughout the facility are removing and replacing. Other details such as windows, doors, and fire escapes must be repaired or rebuilt to meet existing code requirements. Framing for new walls and insulation installation occurs once the roof and other major structural updates are complete. Special care must be applied when installing a new elevator shaft within the existing system or during the reconstruction of interior stairwells. This job minimizes the risk of damaging any historically significant features that may already exist within the hotels’ original design. Once the framing work reaches completion, it is time to hang drywall throughout the building.

Historic tax credits often exist.

From an economic perspective, using existing structures is more than just sound preservation planning; it’s innovative development. According to Maxwell Drever, historic tax credits that in many cases live in the local marketplace where old hotels reside, financial benefits often multiply. In many cases, Drever can rehabilitate “broken” hotels for a fraction. What they would cost to build comparable housing units from scratch. Working with established guidelines ensures that old hotels maintain their unique character. In addition, this approach helps assure that such projects are economically viable over the long term. With the ability to contribute positively to the neighborhoods they occupy as stable sources of affordable housing.

Governments benefit as well.

The investment in rehabilitating a broken hotel provides both immediate and long-term returns for local governments. And neighborhoods seeking to retain and attract new residents—all in the interest of financially viable communities. With diverse housing types at various price points.   

In conclusion

Buying a “broken” hotel is not the only way to create affordable workforce housing rental stock. But when it develops at a lower cost, the choice is clear. Through this type of redevelopment, old hotels can be transforming. From vacant eyesores into active community assets once again, a win-win for all involved.

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