Frequently Asked Questions

Downtown attracts a range of investment options. The market is active with both commercial and residential initiatives and can range from someone buying a condominium to a ten-acre redevelopment proposal with mixed use.

Development Assistance

Downtown Greensboro Incorporated wants all businesses to succeed. The first step for a new entrepreneur or a seasoned operator is to contact DGI. The organization can provide free, confidential assistance and maintains a wealth of data and contacts that can ease the process for opening or expanding a business.

1.   Business Assistance:
         a.   Referrals to partners for developing a business plan
         b.   Demographic and market research data
         c.   Evaluating business plans
         d.   DGI maintains a list of properties available for lease and sale and is knowledgeable of projects planned for the
               area. This expertise ensures that DGI can help find the best location for any business.
         e.   Once a site is identified, DGI can coordinate a site visit with building inspectors to determine actions needed to
               make the property fit the proposed use and offer leasing advice.
         g.   Professional Advisors Network – free management/business assistance for existing or new businesses in
               accounting, finance, construction, architecture, real estate, marketing and other related fields.

Construction Planning and Development

Permits, inspections and codes are referenced throughout this web site as Downtown operates differently than suburban settings. Do your research and be specific when you go to apply for a permit. The more you know and can communicate to city officials, the more they can assist and guide you through the correct procedure(s).

Different rules and regulations may apply to your business. Businesses may also need County or State permits. Save time and frustration by contacting these sources before signing a lease or buying a building.

Development Services (Building Permits)        336-373-2380

Before signing a lease or purchasing a building, a visit to the City Development Services Department is a must. City staff is available to tour the property and can save you time and money, especially if considering changing the use of the building. A building permit is needed for all projects that involve the construction, reconstruction, alteration, and repair, removal, or demolition of any building or structure. All electrical, plumbing and mechanical work requires a separate permit for each trade. This “one-stop shop” also verifies compliance with zoning laws and insures the building can be occupied. Learn more.

Downtown Design Overlay District        336-373-2144

The Downtown Design Overlay District provides a flexible framework to promote quality design, enhance the urban character, and maintain long-term compatibility. The overlay applies to the construction of new buildings or to projects that substantially renovates a building exterior. Learn more.

Fire Inspection        336-373-2830

A building must have a Certificate of Occupancy prior to opening to the public. This can only be assured by meeting all fire and life safety codes. Learn more.

Health Codes        336-641-3771

Restaurants and food related businesses must obtain permits from the Guilford County Department of Public Health. Call or learn more.

Business License        336-373-2501

Any business operating within the city limits must have a Business Privilege license. Contact the Privilege License Agent or visit the Collections Division in Room P12 at the Melvin Municipal Building, 200 W. Washington St. Learn more.

State Resources        800-228-8443

The NC Department of Commerce provides information on state/local licenses that you may need. Learn more.

Alcohol Sales        919-779-0700

The Bureau of Alcohol and Beverage Commission’s (ABC) Permit Compliance Division reviews and processes all applications to sell and serve alcoholic beverages. For more information call 336-274-6304or visit the Permit Division of the ABC Commission of North Carolina.