Building a Nest

The takeaway: Don't allow un-permitted work to happen on your property; it could cost you down the track. The story: A good friend of mine, the owner of the Nest Lounge, approached me several months ago to chat about possibilities for his new location in SE Portland. I agreed to help out in a limited capacity a little bit of wood work, some floors and a little tile work. Seven weeks ago as he was preparing to open for business he was notified that the City of Portland requires all establishments serving food to now install a grease trap. A little absurd when he is only serving paninis and sandwiches; I'm sure the apartments all around produce more untrapped grease on a daily basis. My client hired a plumber who went to the city to obtain the required permit, his application was rejected on the grounds that the building was suspected as being modified without permits (over many years, and many times). The city was correct, at some point in the last seven years someone had altered the building, significantly. There were floors and bathrooms where there previously had not been, stairs had changed location and even direction, and framing had been done to alter the space, an entire commercial kitchen was now gone. The flags were up and they were bright red. What it took to get open:
  • An architect
  • An engineer
  • 2 plumbers
  • A contractor
  • 6 sets of site and floor plans
  • 7 visits to the permitting office
  • $5000 in permitting expenses
  • $10, 000 in construction expenses
  • 7 weeks of lost business
These are the things that occur as a result of several people doing illegal work on a commercial building over time. If the original culprits had just followed protocol my client would not have had to spend a small fortune and lose several weeks of business. The responsibility for these infraction ultimately falls to the landlord. He now has a fully legalized building and a more valuable asset now that it is legalized. He was responsible for handing over a legal building to my client, his tenant. However, at some point other people had worked on the building and had essentially brought its integrity into question according to the city. Ultimately the two parties involved are out of pocket and have lost a great deal of time and income because some hacks decided to do a number on that building. The two lessons here are (1) a landlord should check up on the work done on his property and (2) a tenant should do due diligence before entering a lease. Do it right and you'll do it only once, and at the right price.
This entry was posted in Best practice, Project Tips.

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