In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, adaptive reuse in Paris office buildings is underway.


From flexible new co-working spaces to the reconversion of offices back into private residences, our capital continues to adapt.


We take a look at the latest changes for commercial real estate in the French capital.



Co-working spaces are thriving


Paris is the biggest office market in all of Europe. But as many new reports suggest, the way these offices are being used is changing dramatically.


The traditional ‘tower block’ model could become a thing of the past.


In its place are new co-working spaces, which offer both flexibility and affordability. For many, this is an exciting new way to work in Paris.


Wojo is just one example. In this 9,000 m² space in the 8th arrondissement (district), the number of workers is already back to pre-pandemic levels. The same is not true for most of the city’s other office buildings.


At Wojo, companies rent a workstation or room on a short-term contract, with little commitment. Workers simply turn up, plug in their computer, and use the private offices, co-working spaces, and meeting rooms.


Priced around €800 a month, it’s fast attracting startups and indeed, many other companies too.



Better than working from home


Other ventures are having great success. This includes Le Shack, which offers similar co-working facilities, but with an air of luxury.


A new ‘urban oasis’ set a few steps from the place de l’Opéra in the former Calmann Levy printing works, Le Shack offers a 1,500 m² space designed by Gustave Eiffel, entirely revamped for the 21st-century worker.


Alongside the working spaces and meeting rooms, there are wellness amenities from boxing to aerial yoga, a chic restaurant, two bars, and a podcast studio.


The venture also offers a social club, and regular talks for entertainment and learning, to tempt homeworkers back into office space so attractive that it’s better than working from home.


The team behind Le Shack hopes to expand to other buildings in the capital.


Hotels are a good choice for this type of offering. They have reduced occupancy rates at the moment, so are open to new collaborations. Plus, many hotels are already well equipped with meeting rooms, as well as business and wellness facilities.



Meanwhile office spaces are changing… back into residences


As we see time and time again, Paris is a unique real estate market.


There are many factors at play: demand outweighs supply, period properties make up most of the available stock, and new builds are rare.


But a new movement is gaining traction – reconverting empty office spaces back into residential real estate.


This adaptive reuse sees former homes that have been offices for many years, returning to their original function as a private home once again.


It’s another shift affecting both the commercial and residential property markets that are being fueled by the Covid-19 pandemic.



Residential real estate is more stable


Around the world, when employees were first ordered to work from home back in March 2020, it left offices empty. And Paris was no different.


Even today, experts suggest that full occupancy in business districts will not return in the foreseeable future. This gives even more reasons to redevelop former office spaces into residential real estate.


Covid-19 only accelerated this trend. For example, in Paris, over 30% of office spaces had been empty since 2017, before the pandemic.


Why? We could put forward many economic reasons.


For business owners, fewer offices mean fewer overheads, along with no costly long-term lease, utility bills, and other charges.


In this climate, investors may also start to see the benefits of having a portfolio where residential property outweighs business premises. Everyone now appreciates the value of being at home, while residential real estate is also less correlated to economic crises, as we have seen.


Overall, it’s a more stable choice for investors.



Eyes on the prize


The transformation of tertiary buildings into housing is such a hot topic, there is even a new award to champion the adaptive reuse movement.


Launched in 2019, the International Prize for the Conversion of Offices into Housing showcases the need for more living spaces in Paris. It also aims to increase the value of empty and obsolete offices, and to adapt these buildings to modern standards in line with ecological expectations.


For Paris, projects like this will only increase in future years.



Here for buyers, sellers, and renters


As Paris adapts to meet the needs of the 21st-century real estate market, we are here to help.


Whether you are a buyer, seller, or renter, our property experts are on hand to offer free advice. Please don’t hesitate to contact the team at 56Paris.


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