“Office-to-Residential Conversion in San Francisco’s Changing Real Estate Market” Research for SPUR and ULI San Francisco

HR&A Advisors has been honored to contribute to a landmark study with SPUR, ULI San Francisco, and Gensler to investigate how stakeholders might shape the post-pandemic future of downtown San Francisco. We investigated the economics underlying office to residential conversion to help fuel downtown San Francisco’s post-pandemic recovery. With downtown office space sitting vacant, can residential conversion activate downtown and deliver on needed housing? What would it take to make that happen?


SPUR Shares “Office-to-Residential Conversion in San Francisco’s Changing Real Estate Market” Research 

“Flexible work has transformed San Francisco, changing how companies and employees use office space. Firms are reducing their physical footprint, and the decrease in people and activity downtown has negatively impacted small businesses, cultural institutions, and the hospitality industry. Downtown’s recovery is hindered by a lack of economic diversity and a shortage of workforce housing. Could converting vacant office space to residential use be a financially viable solution to both problems?


In a first-of-its-kind study, SPUR and ULI San Francisco, in partnership with Gensler and HR&A Advisors, explored not just the physical suitability of office buildings for redevelopment as housing, but also tested the financial feasibility of conversion projects under different economic conditions and policy scenarios. We published a summary of our findings in March 2023. A report presenting our full analysis and expanding on our findings will be released later this year.”


You can learn more about the study on SPUR’s website and access the Executive Summary of the report here.


Press Coverage

S.F.’s empty office space could hold 11,000 new homes — but only with City Hall’s help, report saysSan Francisco Chronicle (March 2023)


More than 10K residences could replace SF’s empty office towersThe Real Deal (March 2023)