DALLAS — From an 18th-floor apartment smack dab in the middle of downtown, a renter sipping coffee at a quartz countertop would have a view of towering office buildings and a distant horizon. If they moseyed to their bedroom window at the corner of Santander Tower, they could look down on bustling rush-hour traffic — and a giant sculpture of a eyeball.

Until earlier this year, no one could have called the two-bedroom apartment home. Before then, it was a vacant, unused workspace.

“This was someone’s corner office,” said Katy Slade, a Dallas developer behind the recent renovation of the high-rise on Elm Street.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the rise of remote work, the U.S. is sitting on a ton of vacant office space — and Texas is no exception. The state’s largest metropolitan areas are facing double-digit office vacancy rates even as their workers are back in the office at higher rates than employees in other major cities across the country.

At the same time, the U.S. is facing an acute and persistent housing shortage. […]

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