Storefronts are a vital part of New York City’s streetscapes. The Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC), responsible for protecting and preserving the City’s landmark properties, regulates changes made to storefronts on designated buildings. This page provides resources for business owners looking to get a permit from LPC for work on storefronts and related installations to help speed up the approval process.

How can I find out if my storefront is on a designated building?

You can search for the building on the Discover NYC Landmarks map. If it is within a historic district, read on to learn more about LPC rules and regulations for work on storefronts and related installations, how to apply for a permit and how to get a permit as quickly as possible.

NOTE: Application of rules is handled differently if the below conditions exist:

1. The property is an individual landmark.
2. The property has a Warning Letter or Notice of Violation for removing a storefront without permits. Warning Letters and Notices of Violation are posted to Department of Buildings’ Building Information System (BIS).
3. The property has more than three uniform storefronts and one of them contains most of the building’s historic elements.

4.The building has a master plan for installation of storefronts

Please contact LPC to find out how to get approval in these cases.

How does LPC regulate changes to storefronts in historic districts?

LPC has rules that establish the criteria for staff to review and approve permit applications for proposed storefronts in historic districts. They allow staff to issue permits for storefront proposals that do not involve the removal of historic materials. The design can either replicate the historic storefront or it can be contemporary as long as it is based on relevant historic features within the district and includes typical storefront elements like large display windows, bulkheads and transoms. For more information, see Section 2-12 of the LPC Rules.

There are also specific rules and master plans for the following historic districts:

Jackson Heights Historic District
Stone Street Historic District
Madison Avenue on the Upper East Side Historic District
Madison Avenue in the Carnegie Hill Historic District
Madison Avenue in the Metropolitan Museum Historic District

Permit applications that meet LPC rules and master plans can be approved faster by staff. If they do not meet the rules and requirements, staff may suggest alternatives or the proposal may be presented to the full Commission for review at a Public Hearing. LPC staff can guide you through the process.

When do I need a permit from LPC?

Any change to the exterior of a storefront requires a permit, but there are certain emergency repairs you can do without a permit. See our Fact Sheet on Emergency Repairs here for more information.

The most common types of work that require a permit include:

Storefront Installation
You need a permit to restore or install a new storefront. See our Guidelines for Storefront Design in Historic Districts and our guide for Storefronts.

Awning Installation
You need a permit to install or replace awnings. See our guide for Awnings and Sidewalk Canopies.

Signage and Lighting
You need a permit to install or replace signs and lighting. See our guide for Signage.

You need a permit to: change the paint color, power wash, or use a chemical solution to remove paint. See our guide for Restoration.

Sidewalk Café Installation
You need a permit from LPC and the Department of Transportation to install an unenclosed sidewalk café. See DOT’s Dining Out site for more information.

How can I apply for a permit?

Before you begin work on your property, you must apply for a permit from LPC.  All LPC permit applications are now filed and processed through Portico, the agency’s new web-based permit application portal.

LPC also offers Business Express, a specialized review service that serves as a one-stop shop for business owners in landmark buildings, making it easier for them to get their permits. Portico will automatically determine whether your application qualifies for Business Express.

For a detailed checklist of materials required for a complete application, please refer to the Storefronts, Awnings and Signage chapters of the LPC Permit Guidebook, among others.

For more information on applying for a permit, see our Apply on Portico page.

Links to Additional Resources

LPC Permit Guidebook

Guide to Researching Historic Buildings

SBS Guide to Storefront Improvements