Westside Urban Forum – Adaptive Reuse

Four years after the onset of the pandemic and the resulting work-from-home trend, the office market in Los Angeles continues to experience significant challenges with increased vacancy, sluggish leasing, and financially burdened ownership. This market disruption has hollowed out many commercial centers that were traditionally reliant on office workers, resulting in decreased foot traffic and the shuttering of restaurant and retail establishments. Many policy experts have suggested that the rejuvenation of commercial centers requires the reinvention of office centers into mixed-use districts with round-the-clock activation.

In order to achieve this, it has been suggested that lightly used office buildings could be converted into residential space, providing a much-needed boost in activity. In response, the City of Los Angeles has released a proposed Adaptive Reuse Ordinance that is intended to encourage these conversions. A similar measure was adopted in Downtown Los Angeles and helped to usher in the boom of residential development that occurred in the neighborhood in the ensuing two decades. However, few office-to-residential conversions have been successfully executed in recent years, and experts in the field have commented that there are significant financial, engineering, and policy challenges that stand in the way of a meaningful wave of residential conversions.

Does the City’s proposed ordinance do enough to overcome these challenges? Are there other converted uses that have a higher chance of success? And how does the environmental benefit of preserving the embodied carbon in existing office buildings come into play?

Join the Westside Urban Forum as a panel of experts in the development, design, and public policy fields break down these complex issues. This event aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the challenges and opportunities of office conversion while discussing the path forward for conversion.

Thursday, March 21st, 2024
Helms Design Center
7:45 am – 9:30 am PDT

To register, go to westsideurbanforum.com

The Eastern Building, a 13-story Art Deco jewel in downtown Los Angeles, began its life as a department store before being converted to residential lofts. | JHVEPhoto 

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