Old office blocks ripe for repurposing, says leading architect

RKD’s Séamus Guidera says such buildings may become stranded assets but would work well as residential accommodation or hotels

Harry Browne and Seamus Guidera of RKD architects are receiving a growing number of queries from owners of older offices about how they could be converted to other uses. Picture: Fergal Phillips

Converting modern offices into apartment blocks is problematic, but older buildings from the 1970s and 1980s could be repurposed for housing, according to RKD, a leading Dublin architecture firm.

Darragh O’Brien, the Minister for Housing, has written to Simon Coveney, the Minister for Enterprise, in a bid to secure support for a scheme that would allow office owners to repurpose unused buildings for housing.

In January, data published by Lisney, the real estate agency, said so-called grey space, which is surplus office accommodation advertised to be sub-let, currently accounts for about 32 per cent of all available supply. It added that the overall office vacancy rate in Dublin now stands at around 13 per cent.