New Small Business Permit Facilitator and Dedicated Permit Services

-Expedited permit services to fill vacant downtown storefronts and small businesses across the city

The Seattle Department of Building and Inspections (SDCI) now offers dedicated permitting services to prospective tenants of vacant downtown storefronts and small businesses in the city. Downtown tenants and small businesses have been disproportionately affected during this pandemic. The goal of this new service is to provide early guidance to tenants before signing a lease, minimize costly requirements and set businesses up for success by reducing the time it takes to obtain a permit.

Downtown map identifying Pioneer Square, Retail Core, Chinatown/International District, South Lake Union and Belltown.

Area of ​​new legislation which 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 permitted at street level in the Town Center and to encourage the use of these spaces by a wider range of users, including pop-up businesses, art installations and creative spaces. In support of this increased flexibility and the reclamation of our downtown, any business seeking to occupy vacant downtown storefront space (see map) can obtain dedicated permit framing from a point single point of contact at SDCI and an expedited permit process.

In coordination with the Office of Economic Development (OED), we offer similar permit services for any small business, as defined by OED. The OED provides navigation on available small business development resources, as well as small business requirements and regulations. Combining our dedicated permitting services with financial resources and upcoming design services available through the Tenant Improvement Fund and OED Building Consultancy Services (coming in February) better aligns our agencies with the support for the recovery of small businesses and the vitality of neighbourhoods.

Services provided to eligible permit applicants include:

Research and coaching at the start of the license

  • The facilitator will research the property for the most up-to-date permit information
  • Develop permit strategy for most streamlined permit options
  • Seek to minimize costly requirements that could increase construction costs or permit type complexity
  • Review permit application documents to ensure they are complete before submitting them

Expedited Licensing Services

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

Please contact Peter Fuerbringer at [email protected] for more information on obtaining a permit for a vacant storefront downtown.

Please contact Ken Takahashi of the Office of Economic Development at [email protected] for more information on obtaining assistance resources/permits as a small business. Also look at OED website for information on future programs.

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