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In his State of the State address in January 2021, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo outlined a series of initiatives to bring New York back from the coronavirus pandemic. Among them was a proposal to convert underutilized commercial space to residential use. Between a spike in work-from-home arrangements and reduced travel, hotels and offices throughout New York City have sat mostly unoccupied. This inspired Governor Cuomo’s proposal, which would allow Class-B and Class-C offices and hotels with fewer than 150 rooms to be converted into multi-family buildings if 20% of the new units are affordable. Even at a 10% conversion rate, this would create as many as 14,000 new housing units.
Proponents of the plan think the empty commercial space would be put to better use in creating “dynamic, 24/7 walk-to-work neighborhoods,” and it comes at a time when the affordable housing crisis is at an all-time high. But not everyone is on board with the idea. Mayor Bill de Blasio has spoken in favor of such conversions in the past, but objects to the way the governor’s plan would override municipal land use laws and give the authority to the state as opposed to the city. Moreover, land use attorneys pointed out to Bisnow that it’s far too soon to embark on the conversions, as it may take months to see how much housing the city needs or when traditional tourism and office work will resume.
Commerical loft buildings in the Garment District
Either way, this would be far from the first time commercial space has been co-opted as residential in New York City. In the 1970’s, Soho’s abandoned buildings and warehouses were famously transformed into artists’ lofts that put the neighborhood on the map. Additionally, savvy developers and designers have converted former commercial and manufacturing buildings into luxury condos with original architectural details, interesting history, and the blessing of the Landmarks Preservation Committee (where applicable). As we wait to see what will happen with this plan, see listings set in residential conversions of commercial buildings here.

3-Hanover-Square-01 All images of 3 Hanover Square via The Corcoran Group
From the Listing: Apartment 11H at 3 Hanover Square is a sun-filled, high-floor studio located in the heart of the Financial District. Facing south, the apartment is filled with natural light and showcases open city and river views through oversized windows. High-beamed ceilings are balanced with beautifully maintained hardwood floors. The living room offers generous scale and space and hardwood stairs to the bedroom loft helps maximize the living space. 3 Hanover Square was built at the turn-of-the-century circa 1926 as the home to the New York Cotton Exchange. See floor plan and full details here.

99-Bank-Street-01 All images of 99 Bank Street via Compass
From the Listing: Location, Location, Location! Sunny, south-facing renovated loft studio in the heart of the West Village boasts soaring 9.5-foot ceilings, hardwood floors and thru-wall AC. Interiors feature a separate kitchen, dining/office area, and two large closets including one giant walk-in. It looks out upon charming townhouses all the way down to One World Trade Center. See floor plan and full details here.

348-West-38th-Street-01 All images of 348 West 38th Street via Compass
From the Listing: Currently configured as a studio, this corner loft has an abundance of living, working and storage space. Twelve-foot beamed ceilings and seven oversized warehouse style windows fill the space with beautiful natural light. Northern and eastern exposures also feature picturesque city views. The layout is completely flexible and can be converted into a one- or two-bedroom apartment. This is a classic prewar loft conversion that was originally a warehouse factory. See floor plan and full details here.

99-John-Street-01 All images of 99 John Deco Lofts via Compass
From the Listing: Unit 424 is an expansive one bedroom with home office and two bathrooms offers a two-bed layout with an affordable price tag. The lofted ceilings, efficient floor plan and abundant closet space all add to the spacious feel of this home. The apartment features a large living area that can serve as both a living room and full dining room as well as an open kitchen that is adorned with Electrolux stainless steel appliances, gray Caesar Stone counter tops and white lacquer cabinetry. See floor plan and full details here.

365-Bridge-Street-01 All images of Belltel Lofts via The Corcoran Group
From the Listing: In Downtown Brooklyn's most iconic condominiums, this high floor two-bedroom, two-bath has spectacular views and a sizable terrace running the full width of the main living space. Having just undergone a full renovation, this west facing apartment is beautifully appointed and entirely turn-key. The custom designed kitchen features walnut and stone countertops, top-tier appliances, and superb storage. Belltel Lofts was originally designed in 1928 by architect Ralph Walker, once deemed Architect of the Century by The New York Times, and converted to condominiums in 2007 with thoughtfully curated finishes and an extensive amenity package. See floor plan and full details here.

23-Waverly-Place-01 All images of Waverly Mews via Halstead
From the Listing: The superlatives come naturally to this top-floor, exquisitely crafted, one-bedroom with a loft-like feel in the historic Waverly Mews. Located in the heart of Greenwich Village, it's a stone's throw from Washington Square Park. Two homes were combined to create the enchanting and livable floor plan. At approximately 1,000 square feet, the space boasts 12-foot ceilings, hardwood floors, and an abundance of huge windows. Waverly Mews was transformed from its long-ago origins as a hat factory in the 1890's to its handsome residential grace today. See floor plan and full details here.

250-Mercer-Street-01 All images of 250 Mercer Street via Level Group Inc.
From the Listing: Open the door to stunning ceiling heights, sunny skies, and a gigantic wall of windows in this bright and airy loft in Greenwich Village. Boasting nearly 14-foot-tall ceilings, this cheerful and colorful home offers two levels of living with tremendous volume and flexibility. Six oversized windows in the living room create a dramatic open space to entertain, work, or unwind. Delight in the grand scaled bedroom that is both quiet and spacious. See floor plan and full details here.

133-Second-Avenue-01 All images of The Theatre Condominium via Compass
From the Listing: Fall in love with this gorgeous East Village two-bedroom, one-bathroom condominium, featuring chic modern updates and outstanding southern sunlight. Spanning a generous 930 square feet with soaring 16-foot ceilings, this light and airy home offers coveted loft-like proportions. A 22-foot-long expanse of extra-tall windows frames delightful neighborhood views in the spacious living/dining area. Chefs will love the like-new kitchen outfitted with granite countertops, abundant cabinet space, and great stainless steel appliances. See floor plan and full details here.

21-East-22nd-Street-01 All images of 21 East 22nd Street via Douglas Elliman
From the Listing: Welcome to this mint condition one bedroom loft with 24-hour doorman in the heart of the Flatiron District! Enter into this fabulous space and take in the incredible ceilings, enormous windows, beautiful hardwood floors and oversize open renovated kitchen. Chefs will be right at home in this expertly designed culinary masterpiece with custom cabinets, integrated stainless steel appliances by Sub-Zero, Miele, and Fisher & Paykel, and endless stone counter space. See floor plan and full details here.

39-North-Moore-Street-01 All images of 39 North Moore Street via Serhant
From the Listing: The Tribeca Oasis - This perfectly placed Penthouse within prime historic Tribeca offers tremendous privacy from both the 4600 interior square feet with 4 Bedrooms and 3 and 1 Half Baths and the near 2600 square foot expansive rooftop. You enter this boutique condominium on one of the most romantic prime historic Tribeca blocks. A key-locked elevator whisks you to the top. See floor plan and full details here.

112-West-18th-Street-01 All images of Brooks Van Horn Condominium via Compass
From the Listing: Sunny, south facing loft with 11-foot ceilings and oversized windows in the boutique Brooks Van Horn Condominium, a converted pre-war warehouse in prime Chelsea! This well-appointed home boasts a massive entertaining space, bathed in southern light, featured column and includes a large dining area. The open chef's kitchen has an industrial feel with stainless steel countertops and backsplash and features professional-grade stove by Wolf, Sub-Zero refrigerator, and Fisher-Paykel dishwasher. See floor plan and full details here.

148-West-23rd-Street-01 All images of Chelsea Mews via Compass
From the Listing: Masterfully designed by a well-known NYC architect and designer, this combination unit has soaring 11-foot ceilings and oversized windows that bring in natural light from its South and West exposures. The open kitchen features Carrara Marble countertops, stainless steel appliances, custom Solid wood cabinets, Tom Dixon lighting, wine cellar, built-in drawer microwave, subway tiles. A corner living room, with original whitewash wood floors, features a beautiful Marmorino brick fireplace and an acoustic insulation throughout. Chelsea Mews is a striking terra cotta-clad former industrial building that was converted to loft apartments in 1984. See floor plan and full details here.

808-Broadway-01 All images of 808 Broadway via Douglas Elliman
From the Listing: Perched atop the elegant, full-service Renwick at 808 Broadway, this dramatic penthouse boasts lofty, 11-foot ceilings and a 600+-square-foot lush, private roof deck with quintessential city views! Originally a 2-bedroom, 2-bath apartment, this luxurious duplex has been redesigned into an incredible 1-bedroom, 2-bath home with home office, creating an open and expansive living room that stretches the full width of the apartment. With four over-sized, Gothic-style arched windows and bright exposures, the living room is spacious enough to accommodate a separate dining area making the open flow between kitchen, living and dining. Built in the late 19th century, The Renwick was named after its legendary architect, James Renwick, Jr. who also designed St. Patrick's Cathedral and neighboring Grace Church. See floor plan and full details here.

140-Nassau-Street-01 All images of The Morse Building via CORE NYC
From the Listing: Immaculately designed by Mark Foster Gage Architects, welcome home to this magnificently renovated and authentic two-bedroom, two-bathroom loft wrapped in 13 oversized windows, bathed in beautiful natural light, and boasting picturesque views. The entry foyer flows into the generously sized entertaining space with nearly 11-foot ceilings and southern and western exposures through nine windows, each equipped with electric blinds. Originally built in 1879, the Morse Building offers the quintessential New York City experience with 39 residences and only three units per floor. See floor plan and full details here.

150-West-26th-Street-01 All images of 150 West 26th Street via Compass
From the Listing: Ideal for entertaining, every inch of this corner loft has been carefully considered and curated with the utmost luxury and comfort in mind. This home is sun-struck, peaceful and exudes a sense of calm and stillness throughout. The 10-foot ceilings and walls of oversized windows span the expansive great room with 7" oak wood plank flooring. The open concept kitchen is rich with custom milled cabinets and grey oak flexible panels. See floor plan and full details here.

19-Bond-Street-01 All images of 19 Bond Street via CORE NYC
From the Listing: Sophistication is beautifully embodied in this spacious loft, situated in prime NoHo on the cobblestone streets where Bond meets Lafayette. This bright and airy apartment with one bedroom, one bathroom plus a bonus work/sleep loft, features nearly 13-foot ceilings, gorgeous prewar details and generous proportions. Dual exposures span the length of the home, providing north and west views through 9-foot windows. See floor plan and full details here.

305-Second-Avenue-01 All images of Rutherford Place via Douglas Elliman
From the Listing: Offering 2,048 square feet of gracious living spread out over three floors, residence #542 provides townhouse-style living with full-service amenities. The open living room boasts 16-foot ceilings, enormous windows and gorgeous unobstructed southern views; three large bedrooms are supplemented by a den that could easily become a fourth sleeping quarter, TV area or dual home office/guest room. See floor plan and full details here.

88-Greenwich-Street-01 All images of Greenwich Club via Douglas Elliman
From the Listing: This beautiful 2 bedroom and 3 bathroom apartment features a spectacular 1,400-square-foot wrap terrace with panoramic views and all day natural light. Oversized windows and soaring 14-foot ceilings only add to this exquisite open and airy apartment. There are three exposures facing south, east, and west featuring the river, the Statue of Liberty and open city views in all directions. A 1930-built Art Deco skyscraper with an opulent marble lobby, the building has the look and feel of a grand hotel and is sure to make an impression on your guests. See floor plan and full details here.

93-Reade-Street-01 All images of Obsidian House via Douglas Elliman
From the Listing: Built in 1857, 93 Reade Street, known as the Obsidian House, is one of the oldest cast iron buildings in New York City and was re-envisioned by the world-renowned architecture firm WORKac (popularly known for their design of Diane von Furstenburg's flagship store and private residence in the Meatpacking District, "The Living Cube"). The luminous apartment occupies the entire second floor and has its own keyed elevator entry. There are two bedrooms, two bathrooms, open living and dining area, approximately 14-foot ceilings with a raised loft space, designed for plants or items of your choice and 4" solid ash flooring light stained finishes. See floor plan and full details here.

1-Hudson-Street-01 All images of 1 Hudson Street via Douglas Elliman
From the Listing: The 8th Floor at 1 Hudson Street is a beautifully renovated full-floor loft boasting spectacular light from its 23 windows and views over Tribeca and the Downtown skyline from every room. Private elevator access opens up directly into a sunny foyer complete with generous closet space, a powder room and a full-height temperature-controlled, glass wine storage room which leads directly to the beautiful open kitchen and Great Room. The open, modern kitchen features top-of-the-line stainless steel appliances See floor plan and full details here.

129-Duane-Street-01 All images of 129 Duane Street via Sotheby's International Realty
From the Listing: Enchanting in its architectural features and breathtaking in its light and views, this historic Duane Street Cast Iron Penthouse is in a class of its own. The private roof top terrace offers sweeping views of downtown's iconic landscape to the south including the Woolworth Building and One WTC and 56 Leonard, Tribeca's newest landmark to the north. The drama begins when the elevator opens into an expansive sky lit dining area with its spectacular skylight. See floor plan and full details here.

21-Astor-Place-01 All images of 21 Astor Place via The Corcoran Group
From the Listing: 21 Astor Place is a Romanesque Revival brick and brownstone conversion where residents enjoy 24-hour doorman service, a live-in superintendent, a state-of-the-art gym, three elevators and resident storage. Enjoy peaceful living throughout this beautiful home thanks to 24 CitiQuiet windows on three exposures. Handsome Brazilian bamboo hardwood floors alternate narrow and wide for a striking effect while designer fixtures and recessed lighting add warm illumination throughout. See floor plan and full details here.

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