Business in Whiting
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:
- Current Economic Development Initiatives (2.1)
- Benefits of Locating a Business in Whiting (2.2)
- Opening & Operating a business in Whiting (2.3)
- Starting a New Business (2.4)
- Links to Regional Planning & Development Sites (2.5)
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.
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.
New Illiana Building
Construction is ahead of schedule. The five story multi-use building (commercial/residential) will be finished and occupied in May. The first (ground) floor commercial space consists of 4,158 square feet which fronts 119th Street. This space can be sub-divided into smaller units to accommodate various business tenant needs. Occupying the remaining first floor, to the rear of the commercial space (toward the alley side), is a partially enclosed nine space drive through parking area.
Each of the four floors above the ground floor consists of eight, two-bedroom / two-bathroom apartments. A lease agreement between Illiana-Whiting LLC and Calumet College will set aside nearly a dozen of these thirty-two units for the housing of the College’s foreign exchange students. The rest will be leased at market value.
The rear (east) parking lot will provide 16 surface parking spaces. Additional parking will be provided by adjacent on-street parking spaces and the municipal parking lot at the corner of Indianapolis and Atchison Avenue. The mostly masonry type façade of the Illiana has been approved by the City of Whiting Historic Preservation Commission. The building’s cost is approximately $7,700,000.00.
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 City Hall at (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 Brian Lowry, at Redevelopment@whitingindiana.com for current status of the projects.
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:
- Tax Abatements (3.1)
- Economic Development Loans (3.2)
- Facade Renovation Grants (3.3)
- Low Cost Trash Pick-up Services
- Low Cost Recycling Pick-up Services
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:
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.
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 Brian Lowry, Director of Economic Development, at Redevelopment@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
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.
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:
Small Business Administration
The Small Business Administration provides information on starting and growing a business.
Take the SBA’s Readiness Assessment Tool
(a quiz designed to help you figure out if you are ready to start a new venture):
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.
2.5 –Links to Regional Planning & Development Sites
- Northwest Indiana Forum – http://www.nwiforum.org
- Northwest Indiana Regional Planning Commission – http://www.nirpc.org
- Quality of Life Council – http://www.nwiqlc.org
- Indiana Department of Workforce Development – http://www.in.gov/dwd
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 and the term of abatement is determined by the amount of Assessed Valuation added to the community.
All abatement requests must be submitted before the project begins. Contact City Attorney Denise Sejna at for additional information.
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.
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:
To apply for a renovation grant, please click here (link)
3.4 – 1 Mile Opportunity Gap
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3.5 – 3 Mile Opportunity Gap
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3.6 – 5 Mile opportunity Gap
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3.7 – Whiting Special Events & Attractions
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 official Pierogi Fest® website – www.pierogifest.net. 2015 – Pierogi Fest® is a registered trademark of the Whiting-Robertsdale Chamber of Commerce. All rights reserved.
Annual July 3rd Fireworks and July 4th Parade
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 Whiting Park Festival Orchestra and Chorus concert series that takes advantage of the beautiful lakefront setting in Whiting Lakefront Park. Each of the 4 feature symphonic events draw approximately 1,500 listeners. The concert series begins in July and ends with a special Labor Day concert each year.
Vintage classics, muscle cars, and music provide a unique setting along 119th Street for Whiting Cruise Nights held every 3rd Wednesday of the month – May through October.
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.
Farmers Markets are held in front of Whiting City Hall from 10am – 2pm every Saturday, beginning in spring and lasting through fall. The market continues to grow year after year, including fresh fruit, vegetables, meats, cheeses, homemade breads, flowers, and more! Our market takes place rain or shine.
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.
Illuminated Christmas Parade and Holiday Events
Embrace the holidays in Whiting, celebrated every year with the City’s Illuminated Christmas Parade in Downtown Whiting followed by a spectacular tree lighting ceremony in front of Whiting City Hall. View the ever-changing holiday light displays along 119th Street lit daily as dusk all holiday season long. Click here to view our entire lineup of holiday events!
Mascot Hall of Fame
The National Mascot Hall of Fame will be opening its doors in December of 2018 right here in Whiting, Indiana. The 25,000 square foot, multi-million dollar facility will be a state-of-the-art, interactive, family fun zone, with a wide range of exhibits, activities and events that celebrate mascot fun. Original and memorable mascot interactions and performances will entertain, teach and enthuse children and their families year-round. Click here for more details about the Mascot Hall of Fame’s features, fun, and what’s to come!
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. Whihala Beach offers the complete Lake Michigan beach experience with spectacular views of the Chicago skyline. Guests have access to restrooms, rinse showers, food concessions, a public boat launch and ramp, swimming, sand volleyball courts, walking paths, a bike trail, and fishing (Indiana waters require proper fishing licenses). Click here to learn more.
The WhoaZone at Whihala
The WhoaZone at Whihala Beach features a floating water park made up of slides, trampolines, towers, wiggle bridges, monkey bars, and many other play features combined to create a large obstacle course on Lake Michigan. In addition, WhoaZone at Whihala offers rentals for stand-up paddleboards, kayaks, beach cabanas, merchandise, and more! Click here to plan your visit to The WhoaZone.
Whiting Family YMCA
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.
3.8 – Locus for Map
Click here to view PDF.