The City Council is zeroing in on how it can convert empty office space to address the city’s affordable housing shortage even as the office market shows signs of a slow recovery.
Experts say there could be some challenges including whether there will be enough funding to cover costly conversions, what zoning restrictions would have to be lifted to allow for the changes, and whether it’s going to be a partnership with the private sector.
“Its best chance for success would be having a public-private partnership and allowing more free conversion,” said James Power, a land-use attorney at Kramer Levin. If the city is targeting developments with entirely affordable housing, “it needs a substantial subsidy to be able to do that,” he added.
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