Commercial Space Permit Coaching and Expedited Services

With funding from the Equitable Communities Initiative and Payroll Expense Tax, Seattle Office of Economic Development and the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspection (SDCI) are partnering together to offer eligible small businesses commercial space permit coaching and expedited services. Services provided to eligible small businesses include:

Research and early permit coaching

  • Research property for most current permit information
  • Develop a permit strategy for most streamline permitting options
  • Seek to minimize costly requirements that could add to construction costs or complexity of permit type

Expedited permitting services

  • Prioritized appointment for permit application
  • Reduced timeline for completing plan review
    • Be aware that other departments and reviews outside of SDCI might still be required and have different timelines
  • Single point of contact for permit applicant

Small businesses interested in receiving permit coaching and expedited services should contact Celwyn Green, OED Community Development Specialist at Celwyn.Green@seattle.gov to verify eligibility. Once eligibility is verified, small businesses will be referred to Peter Fuerbringer (he/him/his), SDCI Small Business & Cultural Permit Advisor to provide permit coaching and expedited permit services.

Questions, Translation, Accessibility?

For questions, translation or interpretation, technical assistance, disability accommodations, materials in alternate formats or accessibility information, please contact Celwyn Green (she/her/hers), Community Development Specialist, at Celwyn.Green@seattle.gov or (206) 561-4225.

To be eligible for these services, small businesses must be a for-profit organization based in Seattle and meet ALL of the following four factors:

  1. Have a current City of Seattle business license
  2. No more than 50 full-time equivalent employees
  3. No more than $5 million annual revenue
  4. And no more than two (2) locations

  1. How long does it take to verify my business' eligibility?
    Verifying small business’ eligibility only take a few minutes! To become verified, please contact Celwyn Green (she/her/hers), Community Development Specialist, at Celwyn.Green@seattle.gov or (206) 561-4225.
  1. Do I need to have a lease before receiving permit coaching or expedited services?
    No, eligible small businesses can begin receiving permit coaching while searching for a space. SDCI Small Business & Cultural Permit Advisor can provide research on the most current permit information on commercial spaces and how it may impact applicants’ budget and timeline. The Advisor can provide research on multiple spaces, so that small business owners can make the best-informed decision before signing a lease.
  1. Will you do any designing on my project?
    No, SDCI cannot help design your project. SDCI can take small business’ design plans and review them to make sure they follow code, are complete, and provide information to help avoid issues that could trigger corrections when they are under review.
  1. How quickly can my project be in for review?
    From the time that a project has been looked at by SDCI and submitted for intake, projects are being brought in on average three to four weeks after submission. From there, your project will begin the review process.
  1. How long does the permitting process take?
    After your project is brought in for review, plan for six to eight weeks for projects that are a medium review difficulty. Projects that are more complex can take eight to twelve weeks to be issued. This does depend on the workload of our review staff. Some of the staff that needs to do reviews on your project are outside of SDCI, and those will take more. Expedited permit services are decreasing eligible small business permit wait times by 33%.
  1. I am working with a designer and an architect. Can you work with them, or do you only work with the business owner?
    Yes, SDCI is happy to work with your designer and architect. We understand that you have hired a professional to assist with your project and we will help them and you through this process.
  1. What do you look at when you do research on a potential space and how will that help this process?
    The research that SDCI can do for you is to look at your possible building or business sites. We prefer to do this before you have signed a lease. We can look at the zoning, what the permit history is, and if your project could require a change of use.
  1. Are there outside entities that I will have to work with to get my permit issued?
    Depending on your business and the permits necessary, you may have to work with entities like King County Health or King County Plumbing. These places have different permit times, so it is important to make sure that the necessary documents are submitted to them. Not having your information to outside entities in a timely manner is a common reason that the permit process becomes delayed.

The Seattle Office of Economic Development is committed to building an equitable and inclusive economy that benefits the whole city by promoting access to economic opportunities for all of Seattle’s diverse communities.

The City of Seattle encourages everyone to participate in its programs and activities. For additional questions, translation or interpretation, technical assistance, disability accommodations, materials in alternate formats or accessibility information, please contact the Office of Economic Development at (206) 684-8090 or oed@seattle.gov.