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For prospective businesses


Starting a Business in Lake Forest

The City of Lake Forest welcomes your interest in starting your business in Lake Forest.

1.  Lake Forest Business Districts:
East-side Lake Forest
- located in the historic section of Lake Forest, the east side features historic Market Square on Western Avenue, stretching from the south end CVS plaza to the northend with specialized shops.  

West-side Lake Forest - located on both sides of Waukegan Road, featuring Sunset Plaza and Forest Square. 

2.  City Business Assistance:
The City of Lake Forest offers personalized service through the Office of Community Development. 

3.  Lake Forest is a Special Place:
Located 30 miles north of Chicago, Lake Forest is home to 20,000 residents, 7,000 households with an average income of $218,000 and $800,000 home value.  Over 20 corporate headquarters call Lake Forest their home, including the Chicago Bears, Trustmark, Hospira, Brunswick, Tennaco, Pactiv and others.  Easy access to I-94, O'Hare Airport, Executive Airport and Milwaukee International Airport, Lake Forest is convenient for your business and your customers.  Lake Forest is a triple A (AAA) bond-rated city, ensuring your investment is respected.

4. Community Development forms to complete prior to opening a business:
Before you sign your lease, please confirm your businesses is in the proper zoning district by contacting Cathy Czerniak and completing an application for Zoning Compliance.  In addition, if construction work is planned, permits for that work are required.  For more information, contact the City of Lake Forest Department of Community Development.   Lake Forest does NOT require a business license.

5.  Home-based businesses:   New city ordinances will be updated here shortly.

We look forward to working with you!








220 E. Deerpath, Lake Forest, IL 60045
(847) 234-2600
Non-Emergency Police:  (847) 234-2601

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