Press Release

For Immediate Release: May 6, 2019
Contact:, 212-669-7938

LPC Releases Guidelines to Help Business Owners Get Faster Approval for their Storefronts

The Guidelines for Storefront Design in Historic Districts will help business owners understand the agency's rules and regulations for new storefronts so that they can make good design decisions that meet LPC requirements.


New York – Today, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) released Guidelines for Storefront Design in Historic Districts to help business owners, as well as property owners understand LPC's rules and regulations for new storefronts in historic districts so that they can make good design decisions that meet LPC requirements and get faster approval of their permit. They are meant for everyone who has a role in the design and construction of new storefronts in historic districts, from building owners and business owners to architects and contractors.

"Small businesses face many challenges today and the intent of the Guidelines for Storefront Design in Historic Districts is to provide a helpful tool for business owners with storefronts in designated buildings," said Landmarks Preservation Commission Chair Sarah Carroll. "These guidelines will make it easier to navigate our rules and processes so that business owners can efficiently obtain approvals for a storefront that meets their needs and relates to the historic context of their building or historic district."

As the agency responsible for protecting and preserving the City's landmark properties, LPC regulates changes made to storefronts on designated buildings, most of which are located in historic districts. Thus, any proposal to change a storefront in a historic district should relate well to the building and historic district where it is located.  LPC can approve well-designed contemporary storefronts as well as traditional historic storefronts, as long as the design relates harmoniously to the identity of that particular historic neighborhood or street.

The Guidelines for Storefront Design in Historic Districts explain and illustrate LPC's criteria for staff to review and approve permit applications for proposed new storefronts in historic districts. It features an illustrated glossary of the main elements of a storefront and a brief overview of historic storefronts, before and after photos of approved storefronts and diagrams and architectural drawings that demonstrate LPC's rules. The guide also includes information and examples of materials needed to submit a complete application once the storefront has been designed, as well as other helpful resources on storefront-related installations.

"In 2017, we released a Storefront Improvement Guide in order to help business owners create vibrant storefronts that attract customers while complying with City rules and regulations," said Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services. "The Guidelines for Storefront Design in Historic Districts released today by the Landmarks Preservation Commission is an important resource that will continue to help ensure that business owners have the tools they need to optimize their storefronts."

"Landmark preservation is an integral part of keeping New York City the familiar place we all love," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. "I have long been a champion for preservation, and I thank the Landmarks Preservation Commission for releasing these storefront design guidelines to make compliance and understanding easier for all businesses."

"Historic preservation is about ensuring that the physical traces of our history continue to be a part of the City's makeup to benefit the public," said Council Member Adrienne Adams, Chair of the Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting, and Maritime Uses. "I applaud the LPC for making this process easier by issuing the 'Guidelines for Storefront Design in Historic Districts' as it will help owners and contractors face some of the challenges that come with protecting these historically and architecturally significant buildings."

"Through their new Guidelines for Storefront Design in Historic Districts, the Landmark Preservation Commission will balance their mission to protect New York City's history with the need to accommodate the engine of commerce which makes our city great," said Council Member Margaret S. Chin. "I am proud to support the Landmark Preservation Commission as they help our small business community navigate the storefront design process."

"Anything we can do to help our businesses operate most effectively and efficiently is good in my book," said Council Member Keith Powers. "This guide will help business owners stay compliant in their design while also showcasing what's best about their business. I thank the Landmarks Preservation Commission for providing this resource."

"Historic districts are nothing without the mom and pop stores that dot their streets and bring a sense of identity and community to these neighborhoods," said Council Member Carlina Rivera. "The Landmark Preservation Commission's new design guidelines will help businesses better identify solutions that work for their storefronts and bring clarity to operating within historic districts."

"This is a welcome step in making LPC storefront rules more understandable and accessible," said Peg Breen, President of the New York Landmarks Conservancy. "The guide has clear illustrations and even an interesting history of NYC storefront evolutions through the years."

"Our retail storefronts are a significant part of what makes New York City's neighborhoods lively places to live, work, and visit," said Elizabeth Goldstein, President of the Municipal Art Society of New York. "We are thrilled that the Landmarks Preservation Commission has dedicated time and energy to making it easy for small business owners to help protect and improve the vitality of our city's historic streets."

"This straight-forward, accessible guide will demystify the permit application process for people wanting to do business in New York City's vibrant historic districts," said Simeon Bankoff, Executive Director of the Historic Districts.

"We applaud the Landmarks Preservation Commission on the issuance of guidelines for storefront properties in historic districts. New York City's landmarks law protects the historic character of our city, which contributes greatly to the vitality of many commercial and retail districts," said Robert Benfatto, Co-Chair of the New York City BID Association. "LPC's new guidelines and enhanced staff-level review processes will help storefront businesses achieve compliance with LPC requirements, saving precious time and money for our vital retail sector.  We support and encourage all efforts to make doing business in New York easier and more efficient."

"AIA New York is excited to hear about the release of LPC's storefront design guidelines, which we hope will work to expedite approvals for landmarked projects while maintaining the integrity of New York City's landmarking process," said Benjamin Prosky, Executive Director of the American Institute of Architects, New York Chapter (AIANY) and Center for Architecture.

About the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC)

The Landmarks Preservation Commission is the mayoral agency responsible for protecting and preserving New York City's architecturally, historically and culturally significant buildings and sites. Since its creation in 1965, LPC has granted landmark status to more than 36,000 buildings and sites, including 1,415 individual landmarks, 120 interior landmarks, 11 scenic landmarks, and 144 historic districts and extensions in all five boroughs. For more information, visit and connect with us via and