Do I need a building permit?
You should contact the Building Department at (262) 636-9464 to determine whether or not any permits will be required for the work you do. While not all remodeling or construction work requires a permit, it is better to check in on the front end of a project to avoid any problems.
How do I move into a building?
The city issues Certificates of Occupancy when you first occupy a building. This is a review that ensures that the zoning of the property is appropriate for the use and that any structures on the property are code compliant. Contact the Building Department for assistance at (262) 636-9464.
Do I need a business permit or license?
It depends on the type of business you are operating. Serving or selling alcohol, selling secondhand goods, food service businesses and towing businesses among others require licenses or permits. Others do not require anything beyond a Certificate of Occupancy for the site.
How much are my real estate taxes?
The City of Racine Assessor’s Office can verify the tax assessment of the property and if taxes are paid up or if any amounts are due.
How can I find a suitable location for my business?
Contact the City Development Office at (262) 636-9151 and talk to the Economic Development and Planning staff. We are here to help you determine the appropriate zoning and work through any approval processes and incentive programs the city has to help you get up and running. We partner with several organizations to match you with a property. See our Site Selection section of this website for links to additional resources and available properties.
Can I have a home-based business?
Certain businesses are allowed to be operated on a residentially-zoned property. Contact the Building Department to inquire about the zoning of your property and to determine if your business idea is a permitted home occupation.
Does the city have grant money for my business?
There are several grant programs administered by the city that may be available to businesses that locate in the City of Racine. These include the white box grant program for remodeling/improvement of existing commercial buildings that meet specific criteria. A façade grant is available to help fund exterior improvements in specific areas of the city. The city also offers a REC grant to help offset the cost of water service upgrades.

In addition to city-funded programs, the city’s Business Improvement Districts (Uptown, Douglas Avenue and Downtown) also have several grant programs that can assist with the cost of landscaping, signs and/or professional design services.