Adaptive Reuse: Why Consider Converting Existing Buildings into Student Housing

ByIda G. Payne

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The require for scholar housing throughout the nation is steady as ever, with the Countrywide Multifamily Housing Council estimating that the pupil housing market will develop from 8.5 million beds in 2020 to 9.2 million by 2031. The continued sector progress creates several possibilities for constructing entrepreneurs to capitalize on renewed demand.   

Whilst new design growth opportunities proceed to really feel tiredness thanks to ongoing big scale supply chain and labor problems, just one advantageous approach for builders and building owners is to consider transforming present belongings into modern-day university student housing through adaptive reuse.

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

The Rewards  

To start out, repurposing an current framework vs. ground-up growth can yield significant price financial savings for homeowners. It not only minimizes the preliminary cash investment decision essential, but also can help reduce recent market challenges around inflation, capitalization charges, supply chain shortages and rising labor fees. 

Yet another factor to think about is timing. College student housing is extremely time sensitive—if a undertaking is not brought on-line 30-45 times in advance of the academic year, entrepreneurs both need to have to commit more funds on temporary housing lodging for tenants till their models are entire or builders possibility a delay in return on expenditure by keeping the housing inventory right up until the next calendar year, which most frequently is cataclysmic to a project’s success and a developer’s reputation.  

But, if you appraise a challenge by the lens of adaptive reuse, the full style and development solution modifications because projects are not starting up from scratch. Development timelines can be streamlined to assistance make certain the product or service is finding to industry on schedule and entrepreneurs are yielding highest returns as they to begin with planned in their underwriting. 

Also, adaptive reuse opens the doorway for builders to reuse and rehabilitate chances that exist on primary campus-adjacent authentic estate, and when it comes to university student housing, locale is all the things.  

For case in point, in School Station, Texas, where Texas A&M University is found, web site site and value of land can be prohibitive for quite a few developing proprietors moving into the industry. Kitchen & Associates labored carefully with Haven Campus Communities to renovate an ageing dormitory asset correct subsequent to campus that was not only below-utilized, but seriously out of contact with the modern day university student.  

By having a highly innovative design method, we renovated this dilapidated dormitory into a point out-of-the-artwork “market rate” apartment neighborhood, now regarded as The Custom at Northgate, that features modern day residing accommodations, finest-in-class amenities, a new amenity courtyard that incorporates a pool/incredibly hot tub, and a vast selection of lively and passive outdoor pursuits. Furthermore, all of this was able to be interconnected by way of point out-of-the-artwork house management know-how. The Custom at Northgate will provide generations of Texas A&M college students for several years to come and would have by no means occurred if the developer did not consider this opportunity by way of the one of a kind lens of adaptive reuse. 

[Related: How to Build Better Buildings]

The Tradition at Northgate 2
The Custom at Northgate functions most effective-in-course amenities, which include a new courtyard with a pool and scorching tub, as effectively as a extensive assortment of outdoor activities. Courtesy of Kitchen & Associates.

Sustainability is also a most important benefit of adaptive reuse, which is not only significant to the recent era of eco-acutely aware renters but also has various rewards for making proprietors. For occasion, repurposing present buildings and trying to keep creating elements, these kinds of as piping and plumbing units, on-web-site appreciably lessens the project’s carbon footprint and minimizes demolition debris and constructing waste. In actuality, scientific studies have identified that repurposing buildings can save up to 40% in greenhouse fuel emissions. Community municipalities could also give tax credits and other incentives for inexperienced procedures and the renovation of pre-current constructions that are abandoned and prepared for repositioning.   

When it comes to student housing, we utilized to always converse about the “amenities arms race”—meaning homeowners are consistently striving to 1-up the competitors to provide learners with access to the most recent and biggest condominium characteristics. Nonetheless, the “amenities arms race” genuinely isn’t a talking stage anymore thanks to a shift in assumed about building for a “lifestyle.”  

Utilizing an existing local community asset or nicely-recognized campus making as college student housing aids protect the abundant history and tradition of the local community and university, which can be a differentiator for your property—especially if the constructing features one of a kind options, these types of as historic windows, uncovered beams or appealing woodwork, that can be integrated into the structure. Unique features like these are just as much an amenity mainly because they provide the fashionable pupil the opportunity to live in a position that maintains the rich “culture” of the campus and bordering community context. Just like The Tradition at Northgate, when you creatively style and design new setting up features to seamlessly weave jointly with a culturally abundant current asset, you definitely close up with a exclusive task that usually stands out from the crowd.  

One more terrific instance is in Burlington Metropolis, New Jersey, where Kitchen & Associates assisted renovate the previous Burlington City Hotel and Tavern into a mixed-use apartment local community. Our designers restored the original character and architectural heritage of the making to make it a really one-of-a-type residing knowledge, incorporating entirely restored original windows for greatest purely natural gentle, a lovely oak staircase and even the refurbished tavern and vintage bar into the style and design of the complicated.

Which Structures Do the job Very best?

So last but not least, what sorts of existing structures could be a good in shape for college student housing? General public buildings with present plumbing, HVAC and electrical techniques built for significant business use and spaces on or in close proximity to campus with big open interiors and pleasing historic attributes. Examples consist of industrial spaces, on-campus dorms and outdated college buildings. As COVID-19 carries on to evolve the way the region lives and works, we also anticipate an uptick in the redevelopment of below-used, or in some cases, wholly vacant office environment parks, even dying searching malls, into amenity-wealthy housing options that boast present day lifestyle prospects. 

In conclusion, creating owners must bear in mind that while adaptive reuse projects need watchful thought and scheduling, the economic and environmental added benefits can absolutely outweigh the risk. However, it’s critically crucial for entrepreneurs to work with a proficient architect specializing in asset preservation that certainly understands their eyesight and can bring challenge ideas to lifestyle in a highly innovative, efficient and inexpensive way.

About the Creator:

Jason Lutz, AIA, is a Senior Associate at Kitchen & Associates and provides about 18 a long time of qualified working experience. He co-leads the University student Housing studio and sector system and controls most aspects of architectural design, challenge management, engineering and interior style coordination for all of these projects which includes on and off-campus perform, private, purpose-created and general public personal partnership ventures.

Go through subsequent: What is the Carbon Footprint of Inside Renovations?


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