New Small Business Permit Facilitator and Dedicated Permit Services

-Expedited permit services for filling vacant storefronts downtown and small businesses citywide

The Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections (SDCI) is now offering dedicated permit services for future tenants of downtown vacant storefronts and small businesses citywide. Downtown tenants and small businesses have been disproportionally impacted during this pandemic. The goal of this new service is to provide early coaching to tenants in advance of signing a lease, to minimize costly requirements, and set businesses up for success by reducing the time it takes to obtain a permit.

Area of new legislation that allows for a wider range and increased flexibility of uses for vacant storefronts.

In August 2021, new legislation was approved to provide more flexibility in the type of businesses allowed at street-level downtown and encourage use of these spaces by a wider range of users including  pop-up businesses, arts facilities, and maker spaces. In support of this increased flexibility and recovery of our downtown, any business seeking to occupy a vacant storefront space downtown (see map) can obtain dedicated permit coaching from a single point of contact in SDCI and an expedited permit process.

In coordination with the Office of Economic Development (OED), we are offering similar permit services for any small business, as defined by OED. OED provides navigation of available small business development resources, and requirements and regulations related to small business. Pairing our dedicated permit services with the financial resources and upcoming design services available via OED’s Tenant Improvement Fund and Construction Consulting Services (coming in February) better aligns our agencies in supporting small business recovery and neighborhood vitality.

The services provided to qualifying permit applicants include:

Research and early permit coaching

  • Facilitator will research property for most current permit information
  • Develop a permit strategy for most streamlined permitting options
  • Seek to minimize costly requirements that could add to construction costs or complexity of permit type
  • Review permit application material for completeness prior to submittal

Expedited permitting services

  • Prioritized appointment for your permit application
  • Reduced timeline for completing plan review
    • Be aware that other departments and reviews outside of SDCI might still be required and have different timelines
  • Single point of contact for permit applicant

Please reach out to Peter Fuerbringer at Peter.Fuerbringer@Seattle.gov for more information on obtaining a permit for a vacant storefront downtown.

Please contact Ken Takahashi of the Office of Economic Development at Ken.Takahashi@seattle.gov for information on obtaining resources/permit assistance as a small business. Also look to OED’s website for information on future programs.

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