Adaptive Reuse Programs

Adaptive reuse integrates new uses into existing buildings that are often not allowed under existing technical, building and zoning codes and standards.

Benefits & Problems Addressed

Respond to market demand: Zoning codes can preclude uses in high demand (e.g., restaurants, child care centers) as more people move back to older parts of cities and towns. 

Less red tape: Adaptive reuse offers a leaner process than a standard rezoning to speed the process.

Post-disaster recovery: Quickly renovate & reuse building stock.

Tips & Techniques

Pilot: Test a program with a small number of buildings or a selected areas.The best candidates are where (1) demand for unallowed uses is high (2) the building stock does not require complex transformation to meet new uses, (3) buildings are surrounded by similar or supportive uses. (4) parking is not an issue. Determine what aspects need monitoring to determine success and program expansion.

Tiers: Larger buildings or more intense uses will need stepped up requirements.  Provide minimal process for small buildings and common uses. Prepare a more hands-on program for larger buildings, more industrial uses, or more sensitive uses like child care & medical uses.

Program Elements: (1) Technical & economic development assistance (2) streamlined processes, (3) reduced timeframes or expedited inspections, (4) reduced or waived fees, (5) grants for green upgrades, handicap accessibility, (5) insurance pools

Partners: Reach out to economic development partners (BIDs, job training), historic preservation groups, realtors

Hot Buttons: Meeting ADA requirements, introducing new/more intense uses in vicinity of residential areas, parking, noise.

Resources & Examples

Adaptive Reuse Program page - Phoenix, AZ, US