Replacing moribund strip malls with multifamily housing could make a notable dent in the housing shortage and revitalize under-used properties across the country, according to a report from housing nonprofit Enterprise Community Partners.
Converting just 10% of strip malls into housing could create 700,000 new homes, the report says. That estimate assumes half of the housing projects would be lower-density multifamily housing and half would be medium-density multifamily buildings of up to six stories.
Converting malls into housing is often less complex than transforming urban office buildings into homes. Demolishing a single-story strip mall is easier than rebuilding a downtown high-rise.
Land-use policy updates, tax incentives, and other regulatory changes would be required in many cases to convert property from commercial use to residential, however.