Lawmakers target office conversions to solve multiple problems

They’re aiming to create more housing inventory and decrease vacancy rates.
The downtown Denver skyline is seen, Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

As offices and stores sit vacant amid a national housing shortage, some state lawmakers see an opportunity to solve two problems at once.

Lawmakers in at least six states this year have proposed creating — or letting localities create — tax breaks for converting commercial buildings into housing. Bills pending in at least five states would clear the way for residential development in commercial areas.

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