Adaptive reuse is a type of design approach which involves the use of existing structures or assets (e.g., buildings, equipment) to create new ones. It may involve the creation of entirely new structures or it may include the reusing of existing ones.
The term “adaptive” refers to the fact that the building or asset might not necessarily have to be identical with its original form. Instead, changes might be made to the property so that its purpose or use would change. (For related reading, see: Building Analyzer – Quickly Evaluate Property Potential. )
It is important to understand that not all types of buildings are adaptable for adaptive reuse. This approach is mostly used for buildings or structures that are highly obsolete, vacant, underused, or undervalued. In a way, the concept of adaptive reuse allows owners to take advantage of real estate that would otherwise remain unused. This approach also allows owners to save money as they will not need to invest in the development of new structures.
How Does it Work?
The way adaptive reuse works is relatively simple and straightforward. Buildings or assets that are considered obsolete or underused are identified and certain changes are introduced to adapt these properties for new uses. In some cases, this involves a serious renovation – such as changing the entire purpose of the building or property. It can also involve the removal or addition of additions to the building to better suit its new purpose.
For example, an old school building that is no longer in use might be converted into a restaurant. Certain changes will be made to the property, such as the addition of a new kitchen. The school’s original furniture might also be replaced with more functional dining room sets. The concept of adaptive reuse also encompasses another important element: reusing portions or elements of a property that are still in decent condition.
One of the most common types of adaptive reuse involves converting old factories and warehouses into modern facilities. In this case, older buildings or structures will be re-purposed for office and retail uses. In most cases, the exteriors of these types of buildings remain largely unchanged. The interiors of these properties are modernized so that they can be used for different purposes.
Other types of adaptive reuse involve real estate that is relatively new but is no longer used or needed by the owner. For example, some older shopping malls are being converted into medical facilities or community colleges. In this case, the interiors are modified to accommodate the new purpose. The exteriors of these buildings usually are not changed at all.
The Benefits of Adaptive Reuse
Adaptive reuse is beneficial for several reasons. For one, it prevents the need to over-develop and over-build. This approach to real estate also helps to contain costs, which benefits owners as well as the environment.
Adaptive reuse also benefits the economy because older buildings or properties that are no longer in use are re-introduced into the market and put to good use. This helps to alleviate the need to construct entirely new buildings and structures.
This approach is also beneficial to the local community because it helps to preserve historical and architecturally significant buildings or structures that might otherwise be torn down by new owners or developers. (For related reading, see: How to Green Your Building.)
Adaptive Reuse and the Bottom Line
Adaptive reuse can have a positive impact on your bottom line. As a real estate investor, an important part of your job is to make sure that you are able to contain the costs involved in the acquisition and redevelopment of your properties. Adaptive reuse is a great way for real estate investors to save money because it allows them to avoid unnecessary costs such as demolition.
Adaptive reuse can also help to improve your bottom line because it helps you to avoid certain taxes. Older buildings and properties that are considered to be historic or of great architectural significance typically qualify for certain tax incentives. These tax savings can be used for other projects or they can be passed on to you, the real estate investor.
Adaptive reuse also gives you more flexibility with regard to the types of properties you can acquire. Typically, older buildings or properties tend to be cheaper than new ones. This can give you more options when it comes to selecting properties.
The Drawbacks of Adaptive Reuse
While adaptive reuse is a good thing for the economy and the environment, it does have its drawbacks. First and foremost, this approach can be more costly than new construction because of the extra costs involved in re-purposing the building. This approach can also be more time consuming as well. It takes time to assess the condition of the building or property and determine what changes need to be made.
If you are not careful, this approach can also lead to certain issues with local building inspectors. Building inspectors are usually wary of older buildings and structures because they tend to be prone to more safety issues than new buildings. The last thing that you want is to have your project closed down due to safety issues.
The final drawback of adaptive reuse is a moral one. There are some people who believe that historic or old buildings and structures should be preserved for future generations no matter what the cost. They argue that it is morally wrong to change the original purpose of these buildings or to put them to a new use.