Boston Real Estate for Sale

The problems converting commercial space to Boston condos

Boston Condos for Sale and Apartments for Rent


The problems converting commercial space to Boston condos

Empty Boston downtown commercial real estate has been a topic of discussion in the real estate industry for a while now. With the rise of remote work and online shopping, many commercial properties in downtown Boston are left vacant and seemingly unmarketable. Recently, some (including me in the past) have suggested converting these properties into Boston luxury condos, there are several reasons why this may not be a feasible solution.

One Beacon Street - Office Space in Beacon Hill | WeWork

Boston Condo Zoning Regulations

Firstly, the zoning regulations for commercial and residential properties differ significantly. Boston has strict zoning codes that dictate the type of buildings that can be constructed in a particular area. In most cases, the codes make it difficult to convert commercial spaces into Boston condos for sale ones. Residential buildings may have height and width requirements, or limitations on the number of units per lot, that do not align with commercial zoning requirements. This can make it difficult, if not impossible, for Boston condo developers to turn these commercial spaces into residential ones.

According to Sam Martinez, a real estate consultant, “The zoning requirements for commercial and residential properties differ significantly, and converting a commercial space into a residential one requires a lot of paperwork, permits and approvals from the government agencies. It can be a very time-consuming and expensive process, and that’s a major barrier for most developers.”

Zoning Board of Appeal |

Boston commercial properties tend to be much larger

Secondly, commercial properties tend to be much larger than typical residential units. This can make it challenging to convert a large, open commercial space into individual apartments. It may require significant structural changes, such as adding walls, plumbing, and electricity. These changes can be costly and time-consuming, and may not be worth the investment in many cases.

7,295 Boston Office Buildings Images, Stock Photos & Vectors | Shutterstock

Boston Condo Safety Requirements

Thirdly, residential properties have different safety requirements than commercial properties. For example, residential properties often require more exits, smoke detectors, and other safety features that may not be present in commercial properties. Retrofitting a commercial property to meet these requirements can be a significant undertaking, and can add considerable costs to the project.

Finally, the location of the commercial property may not be ideal for residential use. Commercial properties are often located on busy streets, near highways or in areas with high levels of noise pollution. While these locations may be perfect for businesses that require high visibility and foot traffic, they may not be desirable for people who want to live in a quiet, residential area.

Download: Apartment & Condo Safety and Security: Boston 2015 - Boston's  Best Commercial Cleaning

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