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Tips And Tricks

Considering a tenant finish?

The review and permitting process for a tenant finish or remodel will vary depending on the size and location of the project. GMH By Design can help.


Gregory M Houston – Author

Gregory M Houston – Photographer/Illustrator

Tenant finish and commercial remodels include the alteration or reconfiguration of an existing commercial or multi-family structure. Alterations may include modifications to the interior of the leased space and elements added to the exterior of the building for identification. It does not include the construction of new structures or the expansion of existing structures.

Retail spaces and restaurants located in malls are examples of a tenant finish project. These projects may require a “change of use” or “change of occupancy”. The architect can determine whether the use of the space will require an occupancy change or not.

Tenant Finish

The review and permitting for a tenant finish or remodel will vary depending on the size and location of the project. The general guidelines for Denver projects are discussed below.

Landmark Design Review

If the location of the project is in a local historic landmark district it will be reviewed by the preservation staff. An architect can help you determine if the project is in an area zoned as a historic landmark district.

Zoning Permits

A zoning permit may be required for this type of project. The architect can contact the jurisdiction to help determine if this permit is required. If the project involves exterior work like changes to entrances or outdoor lighting a zoning permit may be required.

Parkways Approval

If the project is located in a parkway property it may need to be approved in order to preserve the unique character of the area. These spaces are managed by the Denver Development Services Department and Denver Parks and Recreation.

Tenant Finish
Tenant Finish

Transportation Engineering Approval

This approval is required for any project that requires construction in the city’s public right-of-way. Examples include changing location of curb and gutter, sidewalk, or curb ramps.

Wastewater Engineering Approval

Wastewater engineering review and approval is required for all new major development and redevelopment. Not typically required for a tenant finish project unless modifications to the site features are being proposed.

Sewer Use and Drainage Permits

Before any building or construction can begin, a sewer use and drainage permit (SUDP) must be obtained. For existing buildings this may only require the completion of a Food and Beverage Uses Questionnaire.

Building Permit Plan Review

Tenant finish projects require a building permit plan review to evaluate the project before permits are issued. Plans can be reviewed in one of two ways: ‘same day review’ or ‘log-in review’.

Same day reviews, also known as walk-ins, can be conducted for projects with a total construction value less than $300,000 and do not require approvals from any other agency. Tenant finishes often are eligible for same day review. However, at any point during the review, the reviewing technician can decide to change it to a log-in review.

Log-in reviews deal with projects having a total construction value greater than $300,000 or the complexity of the project is such that it will require more time for review. Projects required to be logged in can take 4 to 6 weeks or more for review.

Tenant Finiah

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