Skip to Main Content View Text-Only

Development Services

From Concept to Construction

Phone: 503-823-7300

TTY : 503-823-6868

1900 SW 4th Ave, Portland, OR 97201

I want to remodel an existing commercial building. I won’t be changing the use, but may do some work on the site or on the exterior of the building

A project that would not involve any work on the outside of a building or to the site, and wouldn't change the legal use of any part of the space, is generally one of the simplest types of permits that we issue. An example of this type of project is where an existing office or retail space would be remodeled for a new office or retail tenant, or where the existing tenant wants to make some changes to the layout. 

If this will be a new location for you, and even if you will be using the building for the same use as did the previous tenant, we recommend that you check the building permit records to make sure that the use has actually been permitted and that a change of use permit will NOT be required. It is not uncommon to find buildings that, for many years, have been used in a way that has never been approved through the permit process. Legalizing a change of use can be a lot more complicated and expensive than remodeling an existing legal use. You can avoid surprises by doing the research ahead of time. 

Even with relatively simple interior remodeling projects there are some potential complications to be aware of -- most of which have to do with improvements that could be triggered based on the value of the work.


System Development Charges (SDC)

System Development Charges are one-time fees charged to help pay for the facilities (such as street and sewer systems) required to meet growth-related needs for the city. SDCs are paid at the time that a development permit is issued. Building owners, but not tenants, can finance the SDCs through the city. BDS has pulled together information on all the SDCs online. From there, you can also jump to more specific information on each bureau's individual website.

If your project will add more than 500 square feet of new and/or redeveloped impervious area, or if your project would change the way stormwater is discharged off the site, then the Bureau of Environmental Services can be expected to charge an SDC. BES also charges a Sanitary SDC for commercial projects whenever a development permit includes the addition of one or more new plumbing fixtures. (A new "fixture" is a sink, toilet, dishwasher, floor drain, etc.). Different plumbing fixtures are charged at different rates, and the type of business also affects the charge. Visit the DSC or call BES at (503) 823-7761 for more information on SDCs.

If your project will add floor area to the building, then the Bureau of Transportation will charge an SDC based on the new floor area. The per square foot rate will depend on the proposed use. Transportation staff is available in the DSC and at (503) 823-7002.


For the Water Bureau, any SDC is based on the size of meter installed. If your new project will include the addition of plumbing fixtures, a larger meter size may be required and an SDC charged. Water lines required for sprinkler systems are exempt from SDC fees. Portland Water Bureau staff is available to answer your SDC questions at (503) 823-7368 or find information.

 

Heartbleed Security Notice

A serious security vulnerability known as "Heartbleed" was recently discovered in OpenSSL, a popular software library commonly used by many websites on the internet to encrypt communication between a user's computer and a web server.

PortlandOregon.gov is NOT affected by this vulnerability as it does not use the OpenSSL software library. Please rest assured we are dedicated to protecting your security on this website.