Where are commercial-to-resi conversions happening?

TRD Data reveals which neighborhoods are converting the most commercial space into housing

Top 10 NYC Neighborhoods for Commercial-to-Resi Conversions

A photo illustration of 25 Water Street (Getty, Google Maps)

There is nothing New York City needs more than housing. At the same time, it has too much office and commercial space. The logical resolution is to turn one into the other.

While that is easier said than done, some 5,812 units are on tap from commercial-to-residential conversions, according to an analysis of data by The Real Deal. The vast majority — 69 percent — is in Manhattan but many of the 63 conversion projects are spread across Brooklyn, Queens and even the Bronx.

To figure out how many commercial-to-residential conversion projects are underway, TRD scoured Department of Buildings records for major alteration permits active as of Nov. 30 in buildings with no residential units but projected to have 10 or more. (See full dataset here.)

Drilling down further, we looked at what neighborhoods these conversion units are concentrated in and found some surprises.

The No. 1 spot was no shock: Nearly 42 percent of all upcoming conversion units are in the Financial District, where since the 1990s developers have been turning narrow, stale office buildings into high-end accommodations.

Conversions over the past three decades have transformed the Financial District from a staid canyon of office buildings that was a ghost town after hours into the bustling live-work-play community dubbed FiDi.

Three massive office conversions are underway there, slated to create 2,426 apartments. More than half are in a single, massive project: 25 Water Street, with 1,263 residential units on tap.

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The 22-story office building, formerly known as 4 New York Plaza, used to house the New York Daily News, American Media and J.P. Morgan Chase, all of which left during the pandemic.

The owners, Jeff Gural’s GFP Real Estate and Nathan Berman’s Metro Loft Management, nabbed the historic property for $250 million in December 2022 with plans to add 10 floors and to gut its insides to allow for light and courtyard spaces.

FiDi’s three active office conversions rank in the city’s five biggest.

But the neighborhood with the second most conversion units on the way isn’t even in Manhattan. Across the East River in Queens, Astoria has 631 units coming in three office/commercial conversions. Manhattan’s Penn Station area rounds out the top three with a single, 615-unit project.

The rest of the top 10 neighborhoods are in Manhattan, except for two in Brooklyn: Crown Heights, which ranked No. 6 with 150 units, and 10th-ranked Bushwick with 104.

For the full dataset underlying this story on commercial-to-residential conversions – including details on all projects and contact information – check out TRD Data, The Real Deal’s new data subscription platform.