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Question DetailsAsked on 10/18/2017

What permits do I need and what are the guidelines for turning an old restaurant into aand what are the guidelines

I manage a small hotel and I want to turn the old Cafe that's connected to it into my apartment and I know my boss has tried to do that one other time and there was some problems issues and he told me I can have the whole Cafe all I have to do is do it legit how do I do that

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1 Answer


Depends on your locale - but almost certainly a building construction permit for the remodel into a living space - which in most areas will require plans and specifications from an Architect (your Search the List category) to get the permit, and also to serve as the basis for contractors to bid on the job and for the successful bidder to do the work.

Before getting a building permit, though, you will have to go through the Planning and Zoning permits to convert the property from Cmmercial to Residential or Mixed Use classification - so while the architect can certainly handle this application and permitting, maybe your initial stop should be a visit to the Planning and Zoning department to ask for a thumbnail synopsis of the current zoning classification, and whether they are likely to have any major issues with changing it is mixed or residential use. Since it is connected to the hotel, maybe all that will be needed is merging the two properties into one permit property and then reconfiguring the cafe into a residential part of the hotel.

However, your boss might or might not like this if it is a separate property - because as it is, if a separate property with zero lotline, it could be sold off separately. If the cafe was just part of the hotel same as a ballroom or lobby shop or such would be, on the same physical lot, then converting the use should be pretty simple - simpler than going from residential space to restaurant. Then depending on what they say, you could get an Architect to help with permitting and plans and specs.

However - depending on what the prior issues were, talking to the zoning people first without the architect can be risky, because an architect used to dealing with the city/county is less likely to stick foot in mouth or get them into the refusal mode right off the bat, so there is definite risk in talking to them alone.

Of course, since the owner previously tried this and failed, I would first ask for the paperwork he has on that and discuss WHY it failed.

One other thing the owner might be concerned with - once converted to residential (or more likely in this case, commercial hotel living space), going back the other way to a bar or restaurant will commonly be a lot tougher.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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