Nancy Ruddy on Commercial-to-Residential Conversions

CetraRuddy’s co-founder shares insights on adaptive reuse and reflects on her journey in this new Mission Success podcast.

Nancy Ruddy, Co-Founder, CetraRuddy. Image courtesy of CetraRuddy

More than 20,000 units in older buildings that previously served other purposes were completed last year in the U.S., which was almost double the number of apartment conversions in 2020 and 2019 combined, according to RentCafe.

And the trend is gaining traction across the country. The same apartment-search site shows that roughly 52,700 units are expected to become available by the end of this year, with offices comprising one-quarter of future apartment communities. 

Architecture and interior design firm CetraRuddy is currently working on six conversion projects, most of them in New York City. And although each redevelopment has its particular challenges, they all have one thing in common: They need to make the user feel like home, according to CetraRuddy Co-Founder Nancy Ruddy.

“Architecture should do what a great home does, which is provide the foundation for living a really full life,” Ruddy told Multi-Housing News Senior Editor Laura Calugar in the first 2022 episode of the Mission Success: Women in Multifamily podcast series.

The two had an in-depth conversation on the commercial-to-residential conversions trend and the impact of the health crisis on multifamily design. Toward the end of the discussion, Calugar asked Ruddy to reminisce about her work, as CetraRuddy celebrates its 35th anniversary this year.

Here’s what you’ll hear about in this episode:

  • How to approach commercial to residential conversions (0:50)
  • Most common challenges (4:40)
  • Mixed-use developments (10:35)
  • Adaptive-reuse projects (13:15)
  • Pandemic-induced multifamily design trends (16:10)
  • Adaptive reuse in New York City (24:00)
  • CetraRuddy 35th anniversary (28:10)
  • Why choose a career in architecture (31:10)

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