Real Estate for a changing world

Conversion, Reversibility and the Circular Economy


Today's real estate sector is facing many challenges. With the ever-increasing urban population, the resulting housing shortage, and our need to develop more responsible real estate with lower carbon emissions, it's time to overhaul our urban models. Moreover, at a time when properties are becoming increasingly rare and it's vital to protect fertile areas, conversion, reversibility, and the circular economy will contribute to building a more sustainable city with greater respect for resources, both now and in the future.

This issue features the following articles:

  • Key facts & figures for a better understanding of the issues
  • The ideas and vision of several experts who discuss the challenges in the sector and the structures in place
  • Examples of conversion, reversibility, and circular economy projects

Converting offices into residential units

Obsolete commercial or industrial properties are now in the spotlight in Europe, attracting interest in several ways. BNP Paribas Real Estate is convinced that many of those buildings should be preserved, and has therefore created a special unit to identify and analyse the conversion potential of real estate assets that are currently unused and abandoned. Find the interview in the BuzzWords.

Key points:

  • The life span of an office building is 15 years [1];
  • Demand for housing in France has reached 500,000 new homes per year, whilst supply is lower, with only 66,000 new homes authorised each year [2];
  • According to UN projections, two thirds of all people will live in an urban environment by 2050 [3];
  • 6.5% of commercial building space in Ile-de-France (3.3 million m²) could be surplus to requirements in ten years because of the massive deployment of remote working [4].

[1] - ORIE [Regional Observatory of Commercial Properties) - February 2016
[2] - FPI 2021 (
[3] - UN - Department of Economic and Social Affairs ( - 16/05/2018)
[4] - Median scenario, IEIF [French Institute of Land and Property Saving], 2021, Savills Studies and Research 2020 (

BuzzWords conversion Reversibility mock up


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