Plumbing Manufacturers International (PMI) expressed its support for the Biden-Harris administration’s new actions to convert high-vacancy commercial buildings to residential use. These actions will include billions of dollars of new financing and technical assistance to states and cities, as well as the sale of federal properties.

The actions will prioritize the creation of much-needed residential housing that is affordable, energy-efficient, greenhouse gas-reducing, and near transit and good jobs. 

“Plumbing Manufacturers International’s member companies stand ready to contribute to the creation of these new residences,” said PMI CEO and Executive Director Kerry Stackpole. “PMI’s manufacturing members produce water- and energy-efficient kitchen and bath products. Our allied members certify the efficiency of these products and have developed building codes and standards designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. As an industry, we are excited to help build a new frontier of residences that will bolster local economies in an environmentally responsible way in both rural and urban America.”

The administration’s effort is designed to address both the nationwide shortage of affordable housing and the surplus of vacant office buildings caused by post-pandemic work-from-home arrangements. The federal departments of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Transportation, as well as the General Services Administration and Office of Management and Budget will be involved in the effort.

The Department of Transportation released new guidance on how states, localities and developers can gain financing through the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) and Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing (RRIF) programs. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg said “over $35 billion in lending capacity” will be made available through these programs at below-market rates to finance new housing construction and office conversions near transportation hubs.

Among other new resources from the Biden-Harris administration:

  • An updated notice from HUD about how the Community Development Block Grant fund, $10 billion of which have been allocated during this administration, can be used to boost housing supply – including the acquisition, rehabilitation and conversion of commercial properties to residential uses and mixed-use development. 
  • A White House Commercial to Residential Federal Resources Guidebook outlining more than 20 federal programs across six federal agencies that can be used to support conversions. These programs include low-interest loans, loan guarantees, grants and tax incentives, which, subject to the requirements of each program, may be used together to increase the economic viability of conversion projects.
A commercial to zero emissions housing toolkit from the Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Initiative that includes technical and financial guidance on how to achieve zero emissions commercial to residential conversions