Hotel Conversions in Reosrt Towns Blog Header 1024x384 - Resort Towns: Addressing the Affordable Housing Crisis through Hotel Conversion

Picture yourself on a ski lift in Breckenridge, Colorado, eager to hit the slopes and enjoy the fresh mountain air; however, no one can assist you with the lift. Later, you arrive at Lake Tahoe, ready to enjoy a day out on the water, but come to find no available boat rentals. These hyperbolic scenarios are indicative of a larger problem: the shortage of affordable housing for those who make resort towns run. The national housing crisis has made recent headlines, but resort towns have struggled with this problem for years. Skyrocketing home prices and property values in these areas have left workers with limited options: either work seasonally or face long commutes to work. This issue affects not only tourists but also the local workforce, who are essential to the smooth operation of these communities. The lack of affordable workforce housing in resort towns is a pressing issue that requires creative solutions. One approach to this problem is converting hotels into workforce housing.


Resort towns may boast a plentiful supply of hotels, but the same cannot be said for affordable housing for the local workforce. Many employees in the service industry, such as hotel staff, restaurant workers, and ski resort employees, are often forced to commute long distances to get to work, sometimes over an hour and a half each way. This can significantly burden workers, as it adds extra expenses to their already low-paying jobs and takes time away from their families and personal lives. To address this issue, some resort towns have started to convert existing hotels into employee housing, providing a solution for the workforce housing shortage and benefiting the local economy.


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Hotel conversion has its challenges, however. One major hurdle is zoning laws, which can be difficult to navigate. The conversion cost can also be high, especially if the hotel requires significant renovations. While redevelopment can be challenging, it can also be profitable for developers. With the shortage of affordable housing in resort towns, there is a significant demand for such properties, and developers who invest in these conversions could see substantial returns on their investment. By providing affordable housing to workers in resort towns, developers can create stable, long-term rental income streams that can be highly profitable over time. Many hotels are also located in prime real estate locations, which can further increase the property’s value after redevelopment. In this way, converting hotels into workforce housing provides an essential social and economic benefit to the community and can also be a sound investment strategy for firms seeking opportunities in the region.


Another potential challenge is the management of workforce housing units. Property owners should invest in property management services to ensure the housing units are maintained and managed effectively. Partnering with an experienced property management firm will ensure ownership maximizes the value of their investments by upkeeping their properties and attracting high-quality tenants. Additionally, workforce housing may require specific amenities, such as laundry facilities and communal areas, to meet the target demographic’s needs. Property owners will need to consider the needs of the workforce when designing and managing these units.


Despite these challenges, converting hotels into workforce housing has the potential to provide much-needed relief to the housing crisis in resort towns. This remedy could be a win-win for developers, workers, and the local economy by providing affordable housing, ensuring a stable workforce, and potentially generating long-term rental income for property owners. As the housing crisis in resort towns continues to worsen, we will likely see more initiatives focused on finding creative solutions to this issue.


Cardinal Group Consulting specializes in providing consulting services to the student housing and conventional multifamily industries as well as niche sectors such as built-to-rent, office, hotel, and retail. We provide a diverse range of services including market research, due diligence, capital planning, and pre-development design. For more information, contact