Tuesday, February 20, 2018


Adaptive reuse of a building means rehabbing the building for new uses.  Often, the building is a vacant mill or church building. 
Developers usually focus on tax credits, preservation and zoning among the many considerations when rehabbing an existing building and then converting it to a new use and the condominium form of ownership.

The Massachusetts Condominium Statute requires that the Master Deed contain a description of the building.  It is often difficult to describe a building converted from a historic use such as a mill or a church to a residential building or a mixed-use building.  That’s why at least one visit to the site is necessary and helpful.

Because of the thick walls, the description of the boundaries of the units in the Master Deed must be drafted with extra care. Sometimes the original ceiling is used and sometimes there is a drop ceiling.  The attorney drafting the Master Deed must find out and cover this in the Master Deed.

Even a 2-unit adaptive reuse can be challenging.  For example, there may be a building and an existing carriage house in back of the building.  Part of the carriage house may be a part of one of the 2 units in the main building and the remainder of the carriage house may be limited common area, with a parking space for Unit 1 and a parking space for Unit 2.  The lesson is that, whether the project is 30 luxury units in the city or 2 units in the suburbs, condominiumizing existing structures for adaptive reuse is not easy.

Developers should not overlook the need for well drafted condominium documents prepared by an experienced condominium lawyer and floor and site plans prepared by experienced architects, engineers or surveyors.

Saul Feldman and Angel Mozina practice with the Feldman Law Office in Boston The firm's primary specialties are commercial real estate transactions and condominium law and development, in addition to residential conveyancing.  Angel can be contacted at angel@feldmanrelaw.com. Saul can be contacted at saul@feldmanrelaw.com.

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