Sustainable transformation in real estate developments through conversions

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Routledge Companion to Real Estate Development, 2018, pp. 235 - 246 (11)
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Routledge Companion to Real Estate Development (1st) Chap 18[1].pdfPublished version151.13 kB
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Of the buildings we will have in 2050, 87 percent are already built. If predicted climate changes are correct we need to adapt existing stock sustainably. Reuse is an inherently sustainable option, which reduces the amount of waste going to landfill and limits the use of raw materials. Inevitably, settlements and areas undergo change, whereby land uses become obsolete and buildings vacant. At this stage, the options are either to demolish or to convert to another use. Although office to residential conversions are still few in number in various CBDs, cities such as Sydney show an emerging trend in conversion. Some 100,000 m2 of office space is earmarked for residential conversion as demand for central residential property grows and low interest rates create good conditions. With the Sydney market about to be flooded with the Barangaroo office supply in 2017, the conditions for residential conversion are better than ever. However, what is the level of sustainability in these projects? This chapter investigates the nature and extent of conversion in Sydney, as well as the political, economic, social, environmental, and technological drivers and barriers to successful conversion. Through international comparisons between cases in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Australia, this chapter identifies some key lessons that are applicable to other market and urban contexts worldwide. There is substantial potential to change the nature of the CBD with residential conversion of office space and this chapter explores this potential.
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