Adaptive Reuse of Commercial Spaces Is A Win-Win

This is the perfect time to commence adaptive reuse for empty commercial spaces into affordable housing and make money out of it, says adaptive reuse pioneer Richard Rubin, CEO of Repvblik.

Adaptive reuse for shopping malls, shuttered hotels and office spaces will be big during this pandemic era, predicts Richard Rubin, Chief Executive Officer of Repvblik LLC. Rubin should know. He’s the guy who pioneered adaptive reuse of office complexes in Johannesburg into affordable housing about 17 years ago. He’s now putting his expertise to work in the US where he’s relocated since 2015.

“Commercial property is going to be massively hit. When tech companies – always the early adopters – themselves historically large tenants and owners of commercial office – telling their respective employees not to come back to work and to continue to work from home; the writing is on the wall.”

“This cycle may not repeat itself. How often can you buy existing buildings at a massive discount?”

Rubin believes this pandemic is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for entrepreneurs as the opportunities are massive.

“There is tremendous nationwide demand from workers, employers, owners of distressed properties, and investors for commercially viable answers to today’s marketplace challenges,” says Rubin.

“This cycle may not repeat itself. How often can you buy existing buildings at a massive discount?”

Take for instance his purchase of a shuttered Days Inn hotel in Missouri for USD800K, a significant discount from the market value of USD2 mil.

Explaining his decision to pick that particular building, Rubins says the area is near a large college, so there is a potential play in student housing, senior housing and the middle workforce.

Hotels are also the easiest to convert into housing, he adds. To make it a conducive living environment, they installed a pool and spa, and made it fully gated. As a result, these affordable apartments of about 320sq ft each attract a lot of single parents who like the safety of a gated community.

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