Business in Whiting

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Locating a business in Whiting has several advantages: a vibrant community welcoming new development opportunities, access to the broad Chicago market, a distinctive business district and a location along Lake Michigan’s picturesque shoreline.

To learn more about the business environment of Whiting, please select one of the following:

2.1 – Current Economic Development Initiatives

With over a 125 years of innovation behind us, Whiting isn’t slowing down. We invite you to participate in a development renaissance that will continue to focus on our most valuable assets: a neighborly community, a fabulous lakeshore and easy access to Chicago.

BP Expansion
The BP Whiting Refinery completed a $4.0 Billion expansion in order to increase their capacity to refine Canadian Crude Oil. Continued expansion of support facilities have included a new training center and a new firehouse.

Whiting Lakefront Development
The Whiting Lakefront Development which began 2009 has finally been completed. The scope of the development, which included Oil City Stadium, came in at $47 Million.  The Regional Development Authority provided $19.4 Million in grants to support the project. The balance of the monies came for City bonds, Federal Grants, IDEM Grants, Coastal Grants and private sector donations. The Lakefront has been transformed into a quality of life icon within the City. Bike paths, walking paths, a fishing pier, a concert seating bowl, a Gazebo, a formal garden area, pavilion and dock area are just a few of the amenities along the lakefront for the enjoyment of our residents.

Renovation of Illiana Hotel
The City has recently taken ownership of the former Illiana Hotel. It is the intent of the City to seek out a developer to make a proposal on the renovation and use determination of the property. Given the right proposal the City is willing to part with this parcel at a very low value to encourage its development.

Redevelopment Commission Property
The Redevelopment Commission has ownership of parcels throughout the City prime for development, renovation, and new home starts. Interested parties should submit a proposal of their intention for the property to include any items in which assistance would be required. Contact Bruce Stolman at bstolman@whitingindiana.com or (219) 659-7700 for more information.

New Residential Development
New, single-family dwellings are being built in two areas of the City. The Lakefront Commons Project on center Street is undergoing the construction of single-family homes that will occupy the entire tract of land from 119th Street to 117th Street. The 1900 block of New York Avenue offers the other new home venue. Between Lakefront Commons and New York Avenue, the price points should cover the needs of a broad range of buyer opportunities. A new multi use building is being built at 1518 119th Street. The first floor will be dedicated to a commercial space. The upper floors will accommodate 24 high end apartments with two bedrooms and two baths. Information on this opportunity to be completed in the summer of 2015 please call Ruth Mavronicles (Coldwell Bank Real Estate) Mobile Phone: 219.614.2842.

Due to the dynamic nature of these issues, please recognize that all information is subject to regular and rapid change. Please contact Bob Kark, director of Economic Development, at 659-7704 x. 235 or for current status of the projects.

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2.2 – Benefits of locating a business in Whiting

A welcoming community, an excellent target market and a great location…explore the benefits of locating your business in Whiting.

The Benefit of Business Incentives
To create a welcoming atmosphere for commercial development, the City of Whiting offers the following incentives to investors in the community:

The Benefit of Demography
Nearly 62,000 people employed within 5 miles, an average family income of $60,625 within a mile of the downtown district, over 400,000 visitors annually: these numbers tell the story of a community whose wants and needs your business can fill.

Retail Opportunity and Surplus Gaps
The locus (3.8) for these demographic reports is the intersection of 119th & Indianapolis Blvd, which sees a daily traffic count of 15,000 cars. These figures identify how much residents of an area spend and contrast that to how much is actually spent within the same area.

Market Analysis and Housing Study A comprehensive Downtown Business District Market Analysis was completed in late 2008 for the City of Whiting.  In conjunction with this analysis, a study of the Whiting Housing Market was also performed.  Both studies can be reviewed by clicking on the following links:

Annual Events and Attractions – View List (3.7)
Whiting celebrates community and draws visitors to town with a full calendar of special events designed to showcase our merchants, charming business district and lakefront setting.

The Benefit of Location
With great views of Chicago’s skyline along Lake Michigan’s shore, Whiting has the advantage of being within 30 minutes of a nexus of transportation arteries: state and interstate highways, commuter and commercial train lines, an international harbor and a regional airport. Lakefront living and easy access to everywhere else makes Whiting a convenient place to reside, work or visit.

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2.3 – Opening & Operating a Business in Whiting

Opening and operating a business in Whiting has all the advantages of tight-knit community with access to a much broader market. To assist you at any point in the process, contact Bruce Stolman, Director of Economic Development, at 659-7704 x.232 or bstolman@whitingindiana.com.

Finding a location
Finding the perfect location for your business is an easy thing to do. Vacancies are listed here to assist your search.

Obtaining a Business License
Business Licenses are obtained through the Clerk’s Office. To apply for a Whiting Business License, click here.

Complying with Local Ordinances and Regulations
Whiting preserves the integrity of our historic downtown business district by maintaining and enforcing strict standards.

Historic Preservation District
The Historic Preservation District encompasses all businesses on 119th Street and those on Indianapolis Boulevard between 120th & Atchison. All facade and sign improvements, changes, or updates must conform to the prescribed standards.

Click here to learn about District Guideline

Click here to learn about the Application for Certificate of Appropriateness

Ordinance Code
All businesses and properties within Whiting must conform to the ordinances set forth by the City Council. For a searchable database of the City’s Code of Ordinances, please click here.

Chamber of Commerce
The Whiting-Robertsdale Chamber of Commerce is an organization dedicated to making your business a success. Through special events, public relations and open communication with businesses, the Chamber is a vital part of the business community. To learn more, click here.

Outdoor Café Permit
The ambiance and charm of 119th is enhanced when businesses take advantage of outdoor café permits. To apply for an outdoor permit, click here.

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2.4 – Starting a New Business

Entrepreneurs find a welcome home in Whiting. Reasonable rents, the ability to draw from the Greater Chicagoland Region and a community-oriented business district make for an attractive start-up environment. For assistance in starting a business, several resources are available.

The Indiana Secretary of State
Indiana’s Secretary of State offers an Entrepreneur’s Guide to Starting A Business in Indiana:
http://www.in.gov/sos/business/corps/guide.html

Small Business Administration
The Small Business Administration provides information on starting and growing a business.
http://www.sba.gov

Take the SBA’s Readiness Assessment Tool
(a quiz designed to help you figure out if you are ready to start a new venture):
http://app1.sba.gov/sbat/index.cfm?Tool=4

Indiana Chamber of Commerce
The Indiana Chamber of Commerce is a convenient source of reliable information that can help you make decisions regarding operating a business in Indiana.
http://www.indianachamber.com

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2.5 –Links to Regional Planning & Development Sites

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3.1 – Tax Abatement

The City Council may approve property tax abatement if a project meets certain requirements and will benefit the community.  Tax abatement for new construction and renovation projects will be considered using the following sliding scale. The amount and term of abatement is determined by the amount of Assessed Valuation added to the community. The percentage of abatement declines in equal amounts over the course of the term (i.e., 10% reduction per year over 10 years).

Greater than $500,000…………….10 Years
$100,000 to $499,999………………5 Years
$10,000 to $99,999………………….3 Years

All abatement requests must be submitted before the project begins.  Contact City Attorney Denise Sejna at for additional information.

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3.2 – Economic Development Loans

The Whiting Redevelopment Commission has programs in place that are designed to evaluate and assist (through economic development loans) large-scale improvements to the community.

In recent years, Economic Development Loans have assisted in securing several millions of dollars of additional investment in the community. These Loans are approached on a case-by-case basis.

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3.3 – Facade Renovation Grants

To maintain the charming character of the Whiting Business District (119th Street), a facade renovation program offers a 50/50 match for exterior improvements. These grants, which are funded through the Redevelopment Commission, are capped at $7,500 per street address and are subject to the availability of funding.

Some recent examples of facade renovation include:

FacadeRenovations1

FacadeRenovations2

To apply for a renovation grant, please click here (link)

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3.4 – 1 Mile Opportunity Gap

Click here to view PDF.

3.5 – 3 Mile Opportunity Gap

Click here to view PDF.

3.6 – 5 Mile opportunity Gap

Click here to view PDF.

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3.7 – Whiting Special Events & Attractions

Special Events (more details on events page »)

Pierogi Fest®
Over 100,000 of our closest friends stop by for three wacky days of food and fun in honor of the venerable Pierogi. As seen on the Food Channel, Travel Channel, and other national and regional media outlets, this annual event is held the last full weekend of July.  Additional information can be found by visiting the Pierogi Fest® web sites at http://www.pierogifest.net.

2015- Pierogi Fest® is a registered trademark of the Whiting-Robertsdale Chamber of Commerce. All rights reserved.

4th of July Parade & Fireworks                                                                                  Indiana’s oldest 4th of July parade draws nearly 40,000 visitors and hundreds of parade entries from across the Midwest to celebrate our nation’s Independence. Parade is held every Fourth with spectacular lakefront fireworks that evening.

Summer with the Symphony
A concert series that takes advantage of the beautiful lakefront setting in Whiting Lakefront Park, the Symphonies draw approximately 1,500 listeners for their 4 major symphonic events. These concerts begin in July and end on Labor Day, alternating weekends with smaller jazz concerts.

Cruise Nights
Vintage classics, muscle cars and the music they inspired provide a unique setting along 119th Street for the Cruise Nights held every 3rd Wednesday of the month from May through October.

Farmer’s Market
Specialty Amish fare including fresh fruit, vegetables, homemade breads, butters and jams are available every Saturday from Spring through Fall.

Easter Parade
Northwest Indiana’s only Easter Parade and sidewalk “Egg-stravaganza” is marked by it’s dozen roaming Bunch O’ Bunnies, the remarkably creative Peeps contest, egg and bonnet contests and, of course, a city full of people bunny-hopping down 119th on the Saturday before Easter weekend.

Oktoberfest/Dark in the Park
Hayrides, pony rides, family activities, non-profit booths, and merchants are backdropped by cornstalks and pumpkins as the harvest season is celebrated on 119th Street. Dark in the Park transforms the Whiting Park Pavilion into a haunted house every October.

Illuminated Christmas Parade & Home for the Holidays
The Christmas Season is honored every year with an Illuminated Parade on 119th Street and a tour of magnificently decorated homes.

For the Love of Art/Come to the Cabernet
Whiting, known for its vital art community, is showcased in the 119th Street Artists’ “For the Love of Art” arts & crafts  fair which coincides with “Come to the Cabarnet,” a wine tasting sponsored by Winey Beach Café. This event is held annually in September.

Garage Mahal
This one-of-a-kind event provides the opportunity to discover treasures among 200 yard and garage sales. Held the 3rd Saturday of each May.

Other Attractions

Whihala Beach
Whihala Beach, a Lake County Parks facility, welcomes more than 150,000 visitors each year to enjoy the amenities of a mile-long beach and a boat launch into Lake Michigan. Click here to learn more.

Whiting Community Center
Built in 1923 as John D. Rockefeller’s Memorial to the veteran’s of WWI, this classic structure is listed on the National Historic Register and serves the community through use as an exercise facility, meeting place, extracurricular educational site, social hall and more. Click here to learn more.

Whiting Public Library
A gift to the people of Whiting from Andrew Carnegie, this is the most heavily trafficked (per capita) library in the State of Indiana. Click here to learn more.

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3.8 – Locus for Map

Click here to view PDF.

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