One obvious adaptive reuse of vacant hotels/motels is for multifamily housing. In 2020, the hotel occupancy rate plunged to 37% as the COVID-19 pandemic severely cut leisure and business travel and events. Even as the demand for lodging recovers once normalcy returns, stiff competition from short-term rental providers will continue to challenge the viability of the lodging industry. On the other hand, there is an acute undersupply of housing.
Recognizing that the conversion of vacant hotels/motels is a win-win solution to address the underutilization of hotels/motels and help alleviate the housing shortage, the Commercial Real Estate Research Advisory Board under 2021 Chair Dawn Aspaas and Vice-Chair Beth Cristina recommended that research be undertaken on the conversion of vacant hotels/motels into multifamily housing to draw some insights and best practices. This report is the result.