Queens, NY - Converting 2 Family to 3 Family

2 Replies


I was looking to convert a B9- two family home into a CO-walkup (3 family) in queens. My neighbor had done his conversion in early 2000’s but he no longer lives there anymore. The home was built in 1925 and has 3 floors plus basement. I plan to hire an architect but really wanted to make the decision to see if it’s worth going that route or just not doing it at all. I know fire escape through the back would need to be put in but does a fire sprinkler System as well? or probably not if there are some grandfathering rules. I’m assuming everything else needs permits but anyone have any estimated time for doing a project like this 1,2,3? Months 

thank you for your responses in advance 

@Andy Savin Hi, I am a licensed architect with a great deal of experience in NYC. There’s a very specific process to convert a property from 2-family to a 3-family. There are several items which would need to be looked into at the property to determine what’s feasible and what, if anything, is grandfathered. I’ll tell you for one, fire escapes are not typically installed on new project, only repair and replaced in existing installations. 

Please feel free to send me a message and we can speak further on your project. 

Jared W. Smith, RA

Principal Architect - Architect Owl

Most of the time this won't be worth it in this area because the buy-in for 2-family homes is so high, the amount of work and cost to turn it into three, if the town will allow, won't pan out on the other end. It's not just egress, it's installing lighting and back stairwells, etc. And unless it's vacant, current tenants aren't going to be on board. Most people who are trying to buy and then do this aren't going to get it done. Some homeowners get it done while they are staying, but it's a big undertaking and more than most people think.