Adaptive Reuse: Why Consider Converting Existing Buildings into Student Housing


The have to have for pupil housing throughout the region is steady as at any time, with the Nationwide Multifamily Housing Council estimating that the pupil housing sector will develop from 8.5 million beds in 2020 to 9.2 million by 2031. The continued sector expansion results in various possibilities for setting up owners to capitalize on renewed demand.   

When new building improvement chances keep on to feel exhaustion because of to ongoing huge scale supply chain and labor issues, just one effective strategy for developers and creating owners is to think about transforming current belongings into modern scholar housing by way of adaptive reuse.

[Related: New Adaptive Reuse Project to Radically Transform Asheville’s River Arts District]

The Benefits  

To begin, repurposing an existing framework vs. ground-up improvement can produce substantial charge savings for proprietors. It not only lowers the preliminary cash expenditure needed, but also helps ease latest industry challenges close to inflation, capitalization charges, provide chain shortages and rising labor costs. 

A further issue to take into consideration is timing. Student housing is particularly time sensitive—if a task isn’t brought on line 30-45 times forward of the tutorial year, house owners either need to have to spend supplemental resources on short term housing lodging for tenants until finally their units are complete or developers hazard a delay in return on expense by keeping the housing stock till the next year, which most usually is cataclysmic to a project’s achievements and a developer’s status.  

But, if you evaluate a challenge by way of the lens of adaptive reuse, the whole style and development tactic alterations since projects aren’t commencing from scratch. Building timelines can be streamlined to aid make sure the item is receiving to marketplace on routine and proprietors are yielding highest returns as they initially planned in their underwriting. 

Also, adaptive reuse opens the door for developers to reuse and rehabilitate chances that exist on key campus-adjacent true estate, and when it arrives to pupil housing, area is all the things.  

For illustration, in Higher education Station, Texas, exactly where Texas A&M University is located, web site locale and value of land can be prohibitive for a lot of setting up entrepreneurs coming into the current market. Kitchen & Associates labored intently with Haven Campus Communities to rework an getting older dormitory asset correct following to campus that was not only less than-used, but severely out of contact with the contemporary student.  

By having a very innovative structure strategy, we renovated this dilapidated dormitory into a condition-of-the-artwork “market rate” condominium group, now known as The Tradition at Northgate, that provides contemporary living accommodations, most effective-in-course features, a new amenity courtyard that incorporates a pool/incredibly hot tub, and a large assortment of lively and passive out of doors pursuits. Moreover, all of this was equipped to be interconnected by way of point out-of-the-artwork home management engineering. The Tradition at Northgate will serve generations of Texas A&M learners for a long time to come and would have under no circumstances took place if the developer did not examine this chance via the distinctive lens of adaptive reuse. 

[Related: How to Build Better Buildings]

The Tradition at Northgate 2
The Tradition at Northgate attributes most effective-in-class amenities, including a new courtyard with a pool and incredibly hot tub, as very well as a large assortment of out of doors activities. Courtesy of Kitchen area & Associates.

Sustainability is also a major reward of adaptive reuse, which is not only essential to the present era of eco-mindful renters but also has numerous strengths for making owners. For instance, repurposing existing constructions and holding building materials, these types of as piping and plumbing techniques, on-internet site appreciably decreases the project’s carbon footprint and minimizes demolition debris and developing waste. In reality, reports have identified that repurposing structures can save up to 40% in greenhouse fuel emissions. Regional municipalities might also offer you tax credits and other incentives for eco-friendly tactics and the renovation of pre-current buildings that are deserted and all set for repositioning.   

When it will come to student housing, we applied to normally discuss about the “amenities arms race”—meaning homeowners are continuously making an attempt to one particular-up the levels of competition to provide students with accessibility to the most recent and biggest apartment functions. On the other hand, the “amenities arms race” genuinely isn’t a talking place anymore thanks to a shift in believed about developing for a “lifestyle.”  

Making use of an present local community asset or perfectly-recognised campus constructing as student housing assists protect the rich background and custom of the group and college, which can be a differentiator for your property—especially if the making boasts special characteristics, such as historic windows, uncovered beams or intriguing woodwork, that can be integrated into the design. Unique functions like these are just as much an amenity simply because they supply the modern university student the prospect to dwell in a area that maintains the abundant “culture” of the campus and encompassing community context. Just like The Tradition at Northgate, when you creatively style and design new making characteristics to seamlessly weave collectively with a culturally prosperous present asset, you really conclusion up with a unique task that normally stands out from the crowd.  

Another excellent case in point is in Burlington Metropolis, New Jersey, exactly where Kitchen area & Associates served renovate the former Burlington City Hotel and Tavern into a combined-use apartment community. Our designers restored the unique character and architectural heritage of the constructing to make it a certainly one-of-a-type residing knowledge, incorporating totally restored initial home windows for maximum pure mild, a beautiful oak staircase and even the refurbished tavern and classic bar into the design and style of the complicated.

Which Properties Function Greatest?

So lastly, what forms of existing constructions could be a excellent in shape for university student housing? Community properties with existing plumbing, HVAC and electrical units intended for significant commercial use and areas on or in close proximity to campus with huge open up interiors and captivating historic attributes. Examples consist of industrial spaces, on-campus dorms and old university properties. As COVID-19 continues to evolve the way the region life and works, we also anticipate an uptick in the redevelopment of underneath-utilized, or in some circumstances, entirely vacant office environment parks, even dying buying malls, into amenity-rich housing options that boast modern-day life-style chances. 

In conclusion, constructing homeowners really should bear in mind that whilst adaptive reuse tasks have to have thorough thought and planning, the financial and environmental benefits can definitely outweigh the threat. On the other hand, it’s critically vital for entrepreneurs to get the job done with a educated architect specializing in asset preservation that definitely understands their eyesight and can convey venture plans to lifestyle in a extremely creative, economical and economical way.

About the Creator:

Jason Lutz, AIA, is a Senior Affiliate at Kitchen & Associates and delivers in excess of 18 yrs of skilled knowledge. He co-qualified prospects the Scholar Housing studio and market method and controls most features of architectural structure, venture administration, engineering and inside design and style coordination for all of these initiatives including on and off-campus function, personal, goal-created and general public private partnership ventures.

Study upcoming: What is the Carbon Footprint of Inside Renovations?


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