A retail space can be converted to a restaurant in NYC. This will require either a Letter of No Objection and an Alteration Type 2 filing with the DOB or an Alteration Type 1 without a LNO.
Converting Retail to Restaurant
Can Retail Space be Used for Restaurant?
A retail space can be converted to a restaurant or bar in NYC following all the required protocols and permitting process. A retail space can be converted to a restaurant in NYC. This will require either a Letter of No Objection and an Alteration Type 2 filing with the DOB or an Alteration Type 1 without a LNO. Either way permits will be necessary to convert retail to restaurant or bar. You cannot use a retail space a s a restaurant or bar without filing permits in New York City.
NYC DOB Permits for Retail to Restaurant Conversion
Converting Retail to Restaurant as an Alt 2
An Alteration Type 2 is an alteration filed with the NYC DOB that does not require a new Certificate Of Occupancy. In general terms an Alt 2 will be easier than an Alt 1. There are specific requirements you must meet in order to file an Alt 2 when converting a retail space into a restaurant or bar.
NYC Zoning Use Group for Eating and Drinking Establishments
Restaurants fall under use Group 6 of the NYC Zoning Code. Converting any space not in Use Group 6 will require a new Certificate Of Occupancy and an Alteration Type 1 filing. Additionally the restaurant must be in either Building Code Occupancy Group M for Mercantile or B for Business.
The NYC DOB Buildings Bulletin 2009-025 outlines the requirements for converting the Occupancy Group without getting a new Certificate of Occupancy. Here are a few basic points:
- Group B can be Converted to Group M
- Group M can be converted to Group B
- There can be no change in Zoning Use Group
- Occupancy cannot be more than 74 people
- The space is on the ground floor with direct access to the street
- The space being renovated must comply with all applicable codes fire protection, accessibility etc…
- There is no change to the exits (replacing or enlarging a door would not count as a change)
- No change in the structural live load of the space.
Any restaurant conversion that follows these rules may be able to receive a Letter of No Objection from the NYC DOB.
You can see another post we wrote to learn more about Alt 1 and Alt 2 applications.
Letter of No Objection for Eating and Drinking Establishments
In order to convert a commercial space to a restaurant without getting a new Certificate Of Occupancy you will need to get a Letter of No Objection. You would still file an Alteration Type 2 for the renovation work even though you may have an LNO. An LNO is not a work permit. An LNO is also provided to the Liquor Authority in absence of a Certificate Of Occupancy to obtain a Liquor License.
Certificate Of Occupancy for Restaurant Conversions
If you receive a Letter of No Objection for your restaurant you will not need a new Certificate Of Occupancy. If you not get an LNO you will need a new C of O or CO , this will be done through an Alteration Type 1 filling with the NYC DOB.
Converting to Restaurant as an Alt 1
An Alteration Type 1 or Alt 1 results in a new Certificate Of Occupancy for your restaurant or bar. This also brings with it more requirements. Below are a few of the issues you may encounter when converting to a bar or restaurant.
- If there is a change of use a fire sprinkler may be required
- The space must be fully accessible for people with disabilities
- Depending on occupancy you may need more than one means of egress
- The DOB must perform a final inspection of the Restaurant or Bar upon completion
- Place of Assembly for 75 people or more
Place Of Assembly for Restaurants and Bars with 75 or more occupants
Any space with 75 or more occupants will require a Place of Assembly Filing.
Converting Retail to Restaurant in NYC
As an architect I study Building Codes and protocols closely, but these are complicated and quite involved. In this article we reviewed some of the basic concepts with regards to Converting a Retail Space into a Restaurant. This post does not assume to cover every possible issue or condition, but provide a general overview of the topic.
Thank you for reading our blog post on Converting Retail to Restaurant.
I hope this was helpful. Please leave questions and comments below. If you would like to speak with an architect you can Contact Fontan Architecture directly.
This post was written by Jorge Fontan AIA a Registered Architect and owner of New York City architecture firm Fontan Architecture. Jorge Fontan has earned 3 degrees in the study of architecture including two degrees from the City University of New York and a Masters Degree in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University. Jorge has a background in construction and has been practicing architecture for 15 years where he has designed renovations and new developments of various building types.