Why You Should Consider Adaptive Reuse For Vacant Commercial Properties

COVID-19 has hit many businesses hard. Many, not being able to stay open, have closed their doors. As a result, there is a growing number of vacant properties because of the on-going global pandemic. There are also many vacant properties such as older buildings, many in up and coming neighborhoods. 

Some see these vacant properties as an eyesore and a casualty of the pandemic. But what they really are is an opportunity for adaptive reuse. What is this? Here we will explain why you should consider adaptive reuse for vacant commercial properties. We will outline how and why they are done. 

What Is Adaptive Reuse?

Adaptive reuse is a term used in commercial real estate. It refers to the process of taking an existing business location and repurposing the space for a new use. For example, turning a vacant bakery or coffee shop into a pub. Or turning an old warehouse into an office space. 

Masterclass.com provides a detailed definition:

“In architecture, adaptive reuse (also called building reuse) refers to the repurposing of an existing structure for new use. For example, converting an old church into a restaurant, an old train station into an office space, or an old windmill into a home. Adaptive reuse architecture breathes new life into historic structures by converting them into something useful for the surrounding are, like low-income housing, student housing, community centers, or mixed-use creative venues. Commercial real estate developers most commonly handle adaptive reuse projects because they have the financial means and construction expertise required to renovate these structures successfully.”

This practice is most commonly seen in dense urban areas where real estate is at a premium or in order neighbourhoods that are on the cusp of a resurgence. Rather than tearing down the existing structure, you preserve the unique features of the building. 

This process is often confused with historical preservation, but there are some key distinctions that need to be made. Historical preservation’s goal is to restore a property back to its original state, whereas adaptive seeks to reuse the space while paying tribute to the original building structure. 

What Are The Benefits of Adaptive Reuse?

There are a many key advantages to choosing adaptive reuse when seeking out a commercial space for your business. They include:

  • Lessening environmental impact: Reusing the structure and space already available means not having to start a new build. You will use a lot less building materials. By saving what is already onsite, you will also be putting less materials into the landfill. You are creating a smaller carbon footprint with this approach by minimizing urban expansion. 
  • Cost savings: There are a lot of situations where it will cost you less to take over an existing building rather than starting a new build project. 
  • Faster timelines: With the structure already in place, it could take you less time to complete your project. Depending on how much of the structure you intend to keep intact, you could significantly reduce your timelines and open your doors. 
  • Keeping culture and heritage: There is a lot of historical and cultural significance in older buildings. This building process helps to keep this history intact. 

The Adaptive Reuse Process

The adaptive reuse process works similarly to other construction projects. Here are the basic sets you’d follow:

  • Assess the building and determine if it meets your needs.
  • Assess the surrounding area to see if your business is a good fit.
  • Review your budget.
  • Hire an experienced company to manage the project.
  • Develop your plans to retrofit the space.
  • Start the construction process.

What Are Some Of The Key Considerations?

No building project is without its challenges. Adaptive reuse is no different. Here are some of the main considerations you will need to include in your building plan:

  • Does adaptive reuse make sense for your business type?
  • Does the building fit with your design concept?
  • Are there physical restrictions in the space?
  • What building and zoning requirements?

If you are considering an adaptive reuse project, its vital you choose an experienced company that can help you with all aspects of project. From concept to design and construction, the Fuhrmann team can help you with everything. 

We are known for finishing any commercial projects on time, within budget with great quality results. Learn more about this option by booking a free consultation with our team.

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