Converting Retail to Restaurant NYC

(Last Updated On: May 7, 2019)

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 ConversionĀ 

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 completionĀ 
  • 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.

 

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