What To Do With All The Empty Offices In U.S. Cities | CNBC Marathon

Now that the remote and hybrid work revolution has begun, many cities are filled with empty or half empty offices, creating very quiet downtowns. At the same time, the U.S. is experiencing a housing crisis. CNBC Marathon explores if U.S. cities will convert offices into apartments.

Some U.S. mayors are loosening up rules that determine how developers convert office buildings into apartment complexes. The conversion trend sped up in the 2020s, as the pandemic remote work boom reshaped cities. Declines in office activity are straining tax revenues for city services like education and transit, leading some local leaders to prioritize increased conversion of dated buildings. These rule changes may create some additional housing supply in regions like the U.S. east coast.

Meanwhile, San Francisco is facing its highest office vacancy rates in nearly 30 years. At the same time, the city is facing a housing crisis with the state demanding 82,000 new units of housing to be built by 2031. CNBC sits down with San Francisco Mayor London Breed to discuss how the city could tackle two of its biggest issues head-on. Plus, CNBC visits a building in the Civic Center neighborhood that undertook the biggest office-to-residential conversion in the city to date.

Major American cities such as New York and San Francisco face serious problems — mass migration, empty offices and declining tax revenues. These trends have had a direct impact on cities, which rely on tax revenues for funding, a significant portion from commercial real estate. Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh has defined this cycle of spillover effects as the ‘urban doom loop.’

0:00 Introduction
0:51 How Empty Offices Become Apartments In The U.S.
12:28 How San Francisco Can Solve Its Empty Office Problem
26:35 How Empty Offices Are Ruining American Cities

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What To Do With All The Empty Offices In U.S. Cities | CNBC Marathon

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