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Be the broker: Which vacant office spaces would you like to see become affordable housing?

Tell us which empty building could be used differently.

Winston-Salem, NC skyline with the Reynolds Building

The City of Winston-Salem is home to more than 250,000 people, according to

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

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Have you noticed some of the empty office space around town? Office vacancies are at 16.46% as of 2022, slightly lower than Raleigh’s 2022 office vacancy rate of 17.51%. Compare those numbers to the national office vacancy rate, which was 17.8% as of September 2023. One possible use for vacant offices? Affordable housing.

Recently, the White House released a new plan to convert commercial buildings into residential housing — affordable housing in particular. Resources will be made available from 20+ programs across multiple agencies, including the Department of Transportation and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

We’re talking below-market loans, grants, and tax credits... all available to help take advantage of preexisting buildings to make more affordable housing.

Projects currently underway

Winston-Salem is ahead of office conversion trends in North Carolina, with the recent conversion of the Wachovia building and the Forsyth County Courthouse conversion back in 2015 — although both buildings were converted into luxury apartments, not affordable housing as defined by the City of Winston-Salem).

The Winston-Salem City Council approved a 10-year strategic plan at the end of 2023 that featured ambitious plans to utilize vacant office space. A public hearing on Monday, Feb. 5 will discuss raising the cap on building heights, which could lead to more conversion projects in the future.

Which vacant spaces would you like to see converted?

Have you passed an empty office building that would be a sweet apartment? How about some empty warehouses near public transportation that would make for a quick commute?

Tell us which spaces you’d like to see remade into housing, and we may feature your picks in an upcoming newsletter.