What You Need to Know about Pop Up Retail Permits

With buzz words like experience and innovation being thrown out in our industry, it seems only natural  the next step of evolution in the commercial development space is using pop up retail concepts to our advantage which means we need to talk about pop up retail permits. Pouring into the history of pop up concepts results in holiday markets, tree lightings, art walks and exhibits, and now retail. Pop up retail used to mean something was going terribly wrong in a shopping center, however now it is trendy…as long as you have the right pop up concept. We won’t get into that in this article, in this article I am going to focus on what you need to know about pop up retail permits as well as pop up permits for special events.

Pop Up Retail

Pop up retail, sometimes called “flash sales”, is a retail concept that “pops up” in a usually small space then pops away in a few weeks or months. Leases can be executed daily, weekly, or monthly and there are a number of avenues brands can use to find spaces in their desired areas (see sites like The Store Front). Footprints tend to stay relatively small when dealing with retail and can range from as little at 500 sq ft to 6,000 sq ft.

Racking:  If you’re putting a pop up shop in and have racking over 5 feet and 9 inches you’re going to be needing a racking permit. This means mounting information, calculations, and a plancheck. It shouldn’t be anything too crazy, barring something elaborate or material not being pre-approved.

Building Permit: If you’re needing a racking permit it will go through the building permit process, although in some jurisdictions this will be bypassed, and unless you’re doing more of a tenant improvement you shouldn’t really need a building permit. If you do, however, make a quick check to see if your valuation and square footage qualifies you for an expedited or over-the-counter review.

Sign Permit: If you’re changing the signage, even temporarily, you will need to get a sign permit. This means you will need to go through a plancheck.

Electrical Permit: With a really cool pop up concept there might be some lighting and fixtures you want to put up for the life of the pop up, and these will require an electrical permit. You will need to include fixture counts, loads, and materials in the plans. But, don’t get too discouraged for just like the racking permit, if it’s minimal and falls within a certain scope there might be an express check available at the counter.

Research: Within a certain size and scope, most pop up retail concepts should not require too much permitting. However, you can’t determine this until you have completed the necessary research.  Below are some items that MUST be researched before allowing a pop up concept in your space (as they will give you a very unpleasant surprise later if you don’t):

  • -Use: always ensure the concept going in matches the use of the space. For example, an office space being used for a pop up retail will still require a change of use permit. Some jurisdictions allow for temporary change of use permits and temporary certificates of occupancy, however you should know this going into the agreement.
  • -Violations: check for open code enforcement violations the same way you would for a traditional space. You could get slapped with more fines if you don’t resolve violations or close them out if you move forward on the project.
  • -Intensification: pop ups are more native to metro areas which means those cities are sensitive to increased pedestrian traffic, auto traffic, parking, and hours of operations. Double-check the city isn’t going to require a fee for intensification. If you don’t you may find yourself at a city council meeting for a 3 month concept!


About Permit Advisors: Permit Advisors Inc. is a complete permit, entitlement consulting, and expediting firm based out of Beverly Hills, Ca. We go beyond just submitting plans, as you may have experienced with previous expediters. We have established strong relationships with officials of many municipalities and have numerous time and cost saving strategies that we implement to efficiently complete projects. We aim to secure all permits as quickly as possible! We keep track of all the different aspects of the permitting process and make sure that the project is being given full attention by everyone on the team. We responsibly update clients and ensure that lines of communication are open between the Jurisdiction, the consultants and the client at all times. Contact us today for a consultation www.permitadvisors.com.


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Jan 3, 2017 By admin