Where in Los Angeles Are You Building?
Are you building in West LA near the Beverly Center? Are you building in the San Fernando Valley? South Central? Or perhaps South Bay? When considering permits, it’s important to know the character and personality of the neighborhood of your development. For example, locations near The Grove may find a tenant improvement being expedient while a location in Van Nuys may be a better location for mixed use. If you ask me about mixed use developments, I’ll ask you about your site selection.
What Are You Developing?
A deceivingly obvious question, and you may even be rolling your eyes as you read this. But, seriously what are you developing? A restaurant is very different than a multifamily. In the city of angels this obvious question has serious ramifications with respect to your budget and timeline. Let me give you an example: there was an amazing out-of-state developer thinking he should come to California-Los Angeles specifically- and build big box retail. Without proper site selection and due diligence this kind of development can cost you many long hours as well as fees.
What is the Scope of Your Project?
I led into this question in the last section a little bit. But, the next answer you need when considering if mixed use projects, are just a fad or even an option for you, is to know the scope of your project? Are you envisioning a large multifamily building with some retail and restaurants on the bottom? Or are you just putting a little café on in the corner of a mixed use project? If you know where you’re building and the scope of what you’re building you may find that mixed use is a good use of existing space. Conversely, you may find it to be a nuisance as certified letters from neighbors may be required for you to change signage. Additionally, you need to ask about the space you’re moving into.
What Has Already Been Built?
You already know what you are developing, where you are developing, and how big or small the concept is. Know you need to know the history of the space you are building in. A mixed use is only as good as the city planning commission will allow it to be. Let’s say you want to build beautiful luxury residential apartments that go up twelve floors with retail shops and restaurants on the bottom. You have found the perfect location in downtown Los Angeles. What you need now are the certificates of occupancy as well as past approved permits for the area in question. If the space is already approved for the use you want you are in luck! However, if it isn’t you are looking at needing a change of use permit or, worse case, a conditional use permit.
Let’s add another component that may be of interest to you. If the restaurants on the bottom of your mixed use multifamily project wants to serve alcohol or liquor you are going to need to visit ABC and get a liquor license. If there’s a patio you need to find regulations for a patio, and so on. Be sure to do a follow permit portfolio to have a full picture of your space.
Are you demolishing anything?
Yep, you may want to tear down an existing structure for your project, and in that case you are going to need a demolition permit. With that comes a noise permit as well as constraints as to when you can demolish the structure. But, what if you want to use the existing structure and just do an improvement to the “guts” of it? That may be the best course of action if the structure is protected due to landmark status or historical preservation. Los Angeles protects historical buildings not only as other cities do, but also as investments in their booming tourist value.
Whether you are demolishing a site or making an improvement you need to pay attention to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Another way the city of LA will pay attention to ADA is called Disabled Access Services (DAS). In both ways you will need to adhere to the standards as they will inspect you and you will get caught if you cut corners.
Last Word on Mixed Use
As you are finding the answers to these questions you may start to realize the amount of logistics, planning details, engineering, and money that will be involved in a mixed use project. If you have the time, the expertise, and the money then Mixed Use is absolutely something the City of Los Angeles wants in their city limits. The congestion of traffic as well as the lack of space make mixed use projects attractive to consumers as well as city officials. So while they aren’t easy to get pushed through, they are something desired in the city limits.
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.