A crumbling 150-year old prison can have a new life as a 5-star luxury hotel. A fire-damaged church can be reborn as a trendy brewery and restaurant. An obsolete streetcar and maintenance facility can become a valuable live-work space for artists.

As demonstrated by an article from Bisnow, a creative commercial real estate developer may be able to achieve success from even the most unlikely starting point. Old and unused properties can have extremely lucrative second lives in the right hands. 

Is It Worth The Work?

Commercial real estate developers and investors alike may look at properties like a crumbling prison or a fire-damaged church and question whether the potential for success is worth the amount of work required. After all, this will be substantially different than acquiring undeveloped property and starting from scratch.

In addition to the renovation that may be required, there may be a minefield of permitting and legal issues that will need to be addressed. Care must be taken from the very early stages to understand exactly what will be required to achieve a particular vision for the new life of an old property.

However, the location of an old building or another factor may make the work worthwhile, and as the article from Bisnow shows, the end result can be awe-inspiring. The key is to ensure that care is taken through every phase, from planning and structuring to obtaining financing and acquiring the property to construction and beyond.