Behind the Facade: The Feasibility of Converting Commercial Real Estate to Multifamily


2023-02-22T13:00:00 - 2023-02-22T14:00:00

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    High housing demand, along with a surplus of obsolete commercial property, has led to interest in the possibility of commercial to multifamily conversions. To what extent are such conversions feasible? And how can they be accomplished? 

    ULI investigated this question by interviewing developers who have recently completed conversions, providing detailed profiles of successful conversions across the United States to either for-rent or for-sale residential:

    • What obstacles did the developers encounter, and how were they overcome? What design and engineering solutions were employed?
    • How did the deals pencil out?
    • What were their lessons learned? Would they take on more conversion projects?
    • Can cities encourage more conversions? How?

    Come hear directly from developers about their experiences, challenges and successes, and hear from a city’s perspective  about their experience with multiple conversions in their jurisdiction.

    You'll get the inside track on the range of issues and be able to ask your own questions, as well.

    Speakers will include:
    • Caitlyn Segrue Walter, Vice President, Research, National Multifamily Housing Council (Moderator)   
    • Nick Brumback, President and Managing Broker, Brumback Inc. 
    • Mark S. Rivers, Executive Vice President, LOWE 
    • Robert Kerns, Development Division Chief, City of Alexandria, VA



    Caitlin Walter

    Vice President, Research, National Multifamily Housing Council

    Caitlin Sugrue Walter, Ph.D., is Vice President of Research, with primary responsibility for conducting NMHC's research on apartment industry trends. Prior to working at the Council, Caitlin was an analyst at a real estate advisory firm. Caitlin has a B.A. and B.S. (Planning and Public Policy, Criminal Justice) from Rutgers University. She also holds an M.A. in Urban and Regional Planning and a Ph.D. in Planning, Governance and Globalization with a concentration on metropolitan economies and development from Virginia Tech. She is an active member of the National Association for Business Economics, a member of Up for Growth’s Advisory Board, and is a member of the Eastern Panhandle Advisory Council for Girls on the Run of the Shenandoah Valley.


    Robert Kerns

    City of Alexandria

    Rob is the Development Division Chief for the City of Alexandria, Virginia. He is a certified planner with 20+ years of experience working with communities. Sustainability and comprehensive planning are major focuses of Rob’s planning career, emphasizing the latest growth management, urban design, and circulation strategies. To advance sustainable planning he helped found and lead the APA Sustainable Communities Division. He also served as co-chair of the APA Smart Cities and Sustainability Taskforce. In his current role Rob works with many complex, urban development projects - Landmark Mall redevelopment, the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus, and several mixed-use, waterfront projects along the Potomac River in Old Town Alexandria. His position requires negotiating with developers to implement the City’s many progressive planning goals, such as green building, affordable housing, and public art, while working cooperatively with development teams to achieve optimum results.