Press Release | Los Angeles, California | October 25, 2017

Five-City Study Shows How Historic Buildings Can Drive Revitalization

Partnership for Building Reuse identifies solutions to complex urban challenges

A new report released today brings together top strategies to promote building reuse, including new policies, incentives, and tools to unlock the hidden potential of older buildings in American cities. Untapped Potential: Strategies for Revitalization and Reuse is the culmination of a five-year partnership between the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Urban Land Institute (ULI) to strengthen reuse as a force for urban revitalization.

Launched in 2012, the Partnership for Building Reuse was an interdisciplinary initiative, bringing together policymakers, developers, preservationists, and urban advocates in Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles and Philadelphia to discuss the market, financial, technical and regulatory barriers impacting building reuse and develop solutions to overcome these challenges. Untapped Potential showcases the concrete steps these cities and others can take to leverage the economic potential of older structures.

“Older buildings offer cities more than attractive design and symbols of the past,” said Stephanie Meeks, president and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “They can help make our neighborhoods more prosperous, affordable, healthy, and sustainable. Ensuring that local policies actively promote building reuse is critical to strengthening the economic, social and environmental well-being of America’s cities.”

“Repurposing older, underutilized buildings for new uses is environmentally sustainable, can transform a source of blight into a neighborhood anchor, and reap economic benefits,” said ULI Global Chief Executive Officer Patrick L. Phillips. “Through this partnership, we are aiming to encourage the transformation of older buildings into flexible space that adapts to the changing needs of cities in the 21st century.”

Untapped Potential: Strategies for Revitalization and Reuse features the following resources:

  • A summary of the four most common barriers to reuse: issues with zoning, parking, financing and building codes.
  • Solutions to each of these issues, including best practices and innovations seen across the country.
  • A Model Adaptive Reuse Ordinance, which brings together incentives for reuse with flexibility in building and zoning codes – providing a gold standard policy for any city to adopt.

The Partnership process provides a replicable framework for city leaders or urban advocates to strengthen their communities through reuse. The full report is available at

Suggested Tweet: New @PresGreenLab report delivers strategies for revitalizing cities across America through building reuse

About the Partnership for Building Reuse

Recognizing the environmental, economic, and community benefits of the reuse of vacant and blighted property, the National Trust for Historic Preservation formed the Partnership for Building Reuse in conjunction with the Urban Land Institute in 2012 to enhance opportunities for reuse in major U.S. cities. The Partnership for Building Reuse brings together community groups, preservation advocates, real estate professionals, and civic leaders around the common goal of making it easier to reuse and retrofit these valuable assets.

About the Urban Land Institute (ULI)

The Urban Land Institute is a nonprofit education and research institute supported by its members. Its mission is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide. Established in 1936, the institute has more than 40,000 members worldwide representing all aspects of land use and development disciplines. For more information, please visit or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.


The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded nonprofit organization, works to save America’s historic places. | @savingplaces

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