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Construction & Design

Storefront design guide released by Commission

The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) has 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.”

“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.”

“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.

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