NEW YORK (PIX11) — Millions of square feet of New York City office space could be converted to residential real estate capable of holding up to 40,000 people under a new proposal from the Adams administration aimed at taking a bite out of the city’s housing crunch.
The 11-point plan, crafted by the Office Adaptive Reuse Task Force and unveiled Monday, would require changes to both state laws and city zoning requirements. But, if successful, it could add an additional 136 million square feet in vacant and underused office space to a pool of 200 million square feet already eyed for conversion to housing space, according to the administration.
That could translate to enough space to house 40,000 people, according to Adams.
“The need for housing is desperate, and the opportunity offered by underused office space is clear — we know what we need to do,” Adams said, in part, in a statement. “These concrete reforms would clear red tape and create the incentives to create the housing we need for New Yorkers at all income levels.”
The Adams administration’s proposal would give owners of the targeted buildings the option of converting underutilized office space into housing. Buildings identified so far range from Midtown Manhattan to the Bronx’s Hub and Downtown Flushing in Queens. The task force, which was led by Department of City Planning Dan Garodnick, also recommends looking for new housing opportunities in parts of Midtown where residential development is currently prohibited.
But, to be fully realized, the plan would require cooperation at the state level.
In a Tuesday statement to PIX11 News, a spokesperson for Gov. Kathy Hochul said that she too had taken steps to fix New York’s housing crisis at the state level, including working with Adams.
“Governor Hochul has been vocal about the need to think strategically and creatively to solve New York’s housing crisis,” the statement read in part. “Last year, she signed legislation to facilitate the conversion of underutilized hotel space into affordable housing, and in December, she stood with Mayor Adams to announce the recommendations of the New New York Panel – which included a proposal to modernize regulations around the conversion of office buildings.”
The statement added that Hochul would announce plans to fight the statewide housing crisis during her State of the State address, set for Tuesday afternoon.