There are plenty of examples of former schools or factories being converted into trendy loft apartments, but a newer phenomenon is increasing density by building multifamily living on top of existing buildings or incorporating public services into a new development from the beginning.
In Montgomery County, Maryland, the Bethesda Fire Department’s board of directors is proposing an eight-story apartment building that incorporates a modern, efficient fire station. The $14 million project would have no cost to taxpayers, but community voices have expressed concern that the zoning change might change the character of a part of the neighborhood that’s mostly been sheltered from urban sprawl.
Intensification atop fire stations isn’t entirely new, says an article in The Washington Post: “Residents in older cities such as New York and Philadelphia have lived above fire stations for decades, and the idea is gaining new life. In Southwest Washington, a Hyatt hotel is being built above a new fire station, while in Alexandria’s Potomac Yard area, a four-story apartment building of affordable and workforce housing opened above a new fire station in 2009.”
There’s been plenty of this type of vertical intensification in Toronto, thanks to high demand to live in the one of the thousands of condos that form the city’s skyline. The condos at Five St. Joseph offer a dramatic 48-story modern point-tower soaring above an integrated historic façade. Completed in 2015, the sales price average for the building’s 539 units is $1.2 million.
Has your company considered multifamily intensification atop an existing structure? Comment and share your experiences with Market Share readers.
Kathryn Hamilton, CAE, is Vice President for Marketing and Communications at NAIOP Corporate.