How can empty offices fill the housing shortage?

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Real Estate

According to the Spokane Association of Realtors, the city was underbuilt by about 32,000 homes from 2010 to 2019. Homes are in high demand in the Inland Northwest, but offices are sitting empty.

Some companies thrived in the remote work model and aren’t even sure if they’ll bring all their employees back to downtown officers. Developers say converting these offices to housing options would fill the need, but it isn’t a simple switch.

“It’s tough to change uses in buildings. They make the regulation very difficult,” said Dave Black, CEO of Black Realty Management Inc. He says about half of his leased offices still don’t have people in them. He’s curious to see what companies won’t renew when their leases expire.  

Black says his company did make the transition from office to residential in one of their buildings. They made new apartments that were rented in about a month.

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