Retail Architects NYC

by | Last updated Nov 26, 2020 | Commercial, Renovations

You will need to hire an architect if you are looking to do a retail renovation in NYC or convert a space into retail. Either way you will need the help of an architect. Retail Architects in NYC can help you with permits, inspections, code compliance, and of course design.

Lets be honest, renovating or opening a new retail location in New York City is complicated. Even for a small retail renovation, there is a lot of bureaucracy, construction, logistics, and design involved. As an architect, I have had to deal with this for years. A good architect can help you through all of this.


Retail Renovation Architectural Services

There are many services an architect can provide for a retail renovation. The architect can first assess the existing conditions. Help you realize a vision for the space and the architectural / interior design. The architect can guide you through every detail from the store layout, to material, selection, lighting, and all aspects of design. A retail architect would produce a set of drawings for construction and for the Department Of Buildings.

The architect will handle the filling with the DOB including all the paperwork and logistics. Upon approval the contractor can get a permit and the construction can begin on the retail store.

Retail design firm NYC

Architectural Plans for a retail renovation in NYC (Union Square)


Construction Administration and Inspections

During construction of a retail space the architect will periodically come to the job site. The architect will meet with the contractor, answer questions and visually review the work. The retail architect in NYC will submit documentation to the NYC DOB at the completion of the work documenting their Progress Inspections and ultimately obtaining sign-off. Additionally you may need Special Inspections that are performed by the a Private Inspection Agency. Finally there will also be inspections from the DOB for plumbing, gas, electrical, and if you need a Certificate of Occupancy. The FDNY may also inspect your store.

You will be surprised how many inspections will be needed just for one retail location. This is a big process make sure you have a good team helping you.


ADA Accessibility

Your retail location will have to be ADA accessible. ADA is the Americans with disabilities act. Retail Architects are familiar with these requirements and must design accordingly.


Gender Neutral Bathrooms

If you have “single occupant toilet room” in your retail store it must be gender neutral as per New York City Local Law 79 of 2016. You can learn more by checking out another post we wrote on Gender Neutral Bathrooms NYC.


Retail Renovation Permits

If your project involves any construction, then you will need to hire an architect and get approvals from the Department of Buildings (DOB). There is another department called the HUB where your architect can file online for new projects. Check out this article we wrote on NYC Architects Filing online with the HUB. I personally file almost all of my jobs on the NYC Development HUB. After the job is approved by the NYC DOB your contractor can get a permit for construction of the retail establishment.


Converting a Space Into Retail

NYC has very specific rules about what type of use can go into a given space. If you are looking to convert a space into retail you may need to obtain a new Certificate of Occupancy depending on the original legal use. Obtaining a Certificate of Occupancy means filing an Alteration Type 1. An Alt 1 is more complicated than an Alt 2 and will take longer. Some building management companies will not want you to file an Alt 1, but many will not care.


Retail Store Letter Of No Objection

If you can get a Letter of No Objection you will not need to file an Alt 1 therefore filing the easier and faster Alt 2. Retail Architects can file any of these. As an architect I file lots of LNO applications as well as Alt 1s and Alt 2s. You will need either a Certificate Of Occupancy or a Letter of No Objection in order to obtain a liquor license if you will sell ant alcohol in your retail store.

If you would like to learn more about converting a retail location into a restaurant we have another post you can see: Converting Retail Space Into Restaurant.


Retail Architects NYC Retail Renovations

In this article we reviewed some of the basics with regards to Retail Architectural Services and NYC Retail Renovations. This post does not assume to cover every possible issue or condition, but provide a general overview of the topic.

Retail Interior Design NYC

Retail Interior Design NYC


Thank You for reading our blog post on Retail Architects NYC.

I hope this was helpful. If you want to discuss a specific project with an architect please feel free to contact us at Fontan Architecture directly.


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Jorge Fontan

Jorge Fontan

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 20 years where he has designed renovations and new developments of various building types.