Innovative Idea

Adaptive reuse for housing and workspace

Ashon Nesbitt

Florida Housing Coalition

Tampa, FL

Vacant commercial space is a persistent and increasingly common challenge for communities across the country. Facing increased competition from new concepts and growing consumer preference for internet purchasing, retailers are closing brick-and-mortar locations at an alarming rate. The result is vacant real estate, empty parking lots, and a decline in local jobs. These repercussions impact lower-income communities where the workforce is disproportionately dependent on low-wage, service sector employment, and where finding new tenants to fill vacant space can take several years. This proposal will turn vacant commercial space into affordable housing and working space for entrepreneurs in low-income communities, creating a pathway for developers and interested communities to simultaneously promote affordable housing and economic development.

  • This proposal solves two problems: the need for affordable housing near job opportunities, and problems associated with vacant commercial space.
  • In combination, the affordable workspace and affordable housing will allow business owners to focus on establishing and growing their businesses, ultimately boosting employment opportunities within the communities they are located.
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