Landmarks Commission Releases Guidelines for Storefront Designs

By Penny Laughlin

On May 6, 2019, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) published Guidelines for Storefront Design in Historic Districts. The 45-page document was created to help business and property owners understand LPC rules and regulations for new storefronts in historic districts. Informed design decisions that meet LPC requirements should result in faster approvals.

Responsible for protecting and preserving landmark properties in New York City, LPC must approve all changes made to storefronts on designated buildings, often part of historic districts. LPC can approve both contemporary and traditional storefronts. In both cases, however, the design must relate harmoniously to the historic identity of the designated neighborhood or street.

The publication is organized in four sections:

  • An introduction to New York City storefronts, including an illustrated glossary of main storefront elements and an overview of historic storefronts
  • Explanations and illustrations of LPC storefront rules, including before and after photos of approved storefronts
  • Guidelines for submitting an application to LPC for design approval
  • Links to other resources for storefront-related installations

Following the rules and examples in the document will allow LPC staff approval of permit applications that do not involve removal of historic materials. Proposed changes that do not meet the rules may receive modification suggestions from LPC staff. Alternately, such proposals may be presented to the full LPC for review at a public hearing.

LPC storefront rules are intended to encourage design creativity. While the building age may require certain elements, specific design choices are not mandated, and LPC encourages the creative use of traditional features, like decorative glass and metalwork, in new ways.

For more information on this topic or for assistance with LPC approvals, please contact Metropolis Group at 212.233.6344.