Permit Advisors Inc Explains What Pop Up Retail Means for Land Use

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 23, 2017 — Permit Advisors Inc analyzes the next step of evolution in commercial development by studying the permit process for pop up retail concepts.  Once, pop up retail meant something was going terribly wrong in a shopping center, however now it is cutting edge…as long as you have the right pop up concept.

While theories abound about what the “right pop up concept” is, the permitting and government relations process remains a curveball for real estate professionals. Many retailers and landlords forego the permitting process for pop up retail shops to their own detriment, as cities crack down on unpermitted work in the interest of public safety. Permit Advisors Inc has found there are key elements in a project of any size to which one should pay attention.

Pop up retail, sometimes called “flash sales”, is a retail concept that “pops up” in a usually small space then pops away in a few weeks or months. Leases can be executed daily, weekly, or monthly and there are a number of avenues brands can use to find spaces in their desired areas. Footprints tend to stay relatively small when dealing with retail and can range from as little at 500 sq ft to 6,000 sq ft.

“Pop up retail is fun, fresh, and trending with new consumer tastes. But, what those concepts sometimes miss is the crucial permitting process which can come back to haunt the bottom line,” President and CEO of Permit Advisors Roy Hasson says. Permit Advisors is a nation-wide permit expediting firm that focuses on commercial developments. He’s seen firsthand what can happen when permits aren’t obtained before moving forward with a project. “I’ve had clients call me because the city attorney was promising charges due to unpermitted work.”

Hasson offers a few pieces of advice for those looking to permit and open a pop up retail spot, although he recommends getting a consultation from a professional before trying to do the process on your own:

  • Racking:  For concepts that have racking over 5 feet and 9 inches, a racking permit will be required. This means mounting information, calculations, and a plancheck. Barring something elaborate or material not being pre-approved the process shouldn’t be too complex.
  • Building Permit: If a racking permit is required then it will be tied to a building permit, although in some jurisdictions this will be bypassed, and the need for a building permit is often based on scope of work, square footage, and valuation of the construction.  
  • Sign Permit: Any changes to signage, even temporarily, will need to get a sign permit. This means there will be a plancheck and requisites for approval. Double-check with jurisdictions for express checks or programs for signage to avoid full review and plancheck times.
  • Electrical Permit: With a trendy new pop up concept there might be some lighting and fixtures desired for the life of the pop up, and these will require an electrical permit. Requirements include fixture counts, loads, and materials in the plans. However, like the racking permit, if it’s minimal and falls within a certain scope there might be an express check available at the counter.

Although, the concept may be small and temporary, Hasson warns research needs to be conducted in the same manner one might for a full tenant improvement. “Within a certain size and scope, most pop up retail concepts should not require too much permitting. However, you can’t determine this until you have completed the necessary research,” he says and trains his team of project managers to always check the following aspects:

  • Use: “Always ensure the concept going in matches the use of the space. For example, an office space being used for a pop up retail shop will still require a change of use permit. Some jurisdictions allow for temporary change of use permits and temporary certificates of occupancy, however you should know this going into the agreement,” Hasson says, and notes change of use permits aren’t as easy as they seem.
  • Violations: “Check for open code enforcement violations the same way you would for a traditional space. You could get slapped with more fines if you don’t resolve violations or close them out if you move forward on the project,” Hasson warns.
  • Intensification: “Pop ups are more native to metro areas which means those cities are sensitive to increased pedestrian traffic, auto traffic, parking, and hours of operations. Double-check the city isn’t going to require a fee for intensification. If you don’t you may find yourself at a city council meeting for a 3-month concept!” Hasson explains. He also notes that light and noise plays a factor with intensification and ordinances may need to be obtained as well.

Hasson admits the temptation to move forward on retail pop up concepts without permits and hope the city won’t notice, however, he pleads with clients to consider the old adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Roy Hasson and his team at Permit Advisors welcome calls about projects at their Beverly Hills office.

About Permit Advisors:

Permit Advisors Inc is a nationwide permit expediting, entitlement, and consulting firm based out of Beverly Hills, CA. We have established relationships with municipalities nation-wide and implement time as well as cost saving strategies to efficiently complete projects. We provide a project management team to ensure every aspect of the project is given specific attention while maintaining open communication between the

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