Mayor Emanuel Announces Addition of Permit Intake Center to Chicago's Small Business Center

October 24, 2014

Permit Intake Center Will Eliminate the Need to Submit Applications to Multiple Departments by Accepting Non-Construction Permit Applications

Mika Stambaugh    312.744.5365

Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced the addition of a “Permit Intake Center” to the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection’s Small Business Center (SBC), located at City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle St., Room 800. The Permit Center builds on the City’s efforts to provide a one-stop-shop for businesses operating in Chicago. It will allow business owners to apply for non-construction permits at the same place where they apply for their business license.  
“From day one of my Administration, I have worked to turn City Hall into a partner to Chicago small businesses,” Mayor Emanuel said. “The addition of a Permit Intake Center at the one-stop shop Small Business Center builds upon our previous reforms to cut red tape and reduce the cost of doing business in the City.”
Too often, small business operators spend hours waiting in-person at different departments to review and approve their permit application. The Permit Center will eliminate the unnecessary wait times, give business owners one point of contact, and accept the most common permits applied for by business owners as well as coordinate with permitting City departments to ensure timely permit issuance.  It will also provide information on requirements, track permit status, and help troubleshoot issues.
The SBC has piloted the Permit Center over the past month starting with occupancy placards and fire safety permits, receiving 80 applications for occupancy placards alone. Plans are also in place for Driveway Permit applications and Environmental Permit applications to be accepted through the Permit Intake Center in the coming months.
“This is another way our Small Business Center is taking steps toward more effectively supporting Chicago’s small businesses,” said Commissioner Maria Guerra Lapacek, of the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection. “The Small Business Center is the City’s “one-stop-shop” for business licensing, public way use permits, and general information, and this addition will streamline processes, enhance communication, and improve customer service.”  
The Permit Intake Center was created to eliminate the need for businesses to submit applications separately to each City department, and provide business licensing, public-way use, and other non-construction permits all in one office. If a permit application requires approvals from several City departments, the business owner will only need to submit the application once and the Permit Intake Center will coordinate the departmental reviews and approvals.  
Since 2011, Mayor Emanuel has instituted a number of reforms to help support small business growth in the City of Chicago including reducing the time it takes to start up and grow a business. Since opening in April 2013, the SBC has reduced overall wait times by fifty percent and 25 percent of all customers are in and out of the Center within 15 minutes. More than 1000 restaurants have used the Restaurant Start-up Program since its launch in the summer of 2012 and the results have been clear: start-up times for restaurants have fallen by 33 percent, from 66 to 44 days, and for the more than 200 restaurant that have required building permits, a 50 percent reduction, from 254 to 128 days.
Learn more about the Small Business Center and the Permit Intake Center at

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