Programs and Incentives

Site Selection Assistance

Based on criteria provided by the business customer, we can compile a list of potential sites for consideration, advise on zoning code and provide feedback about the need for additional permitting measures such as a Conditional Use Permit, Parking Study or Variance that can help the customer compare sites knowledgeably and make the best decision for their business location.

Business Liaison Service

At the heart of the Business First Philosophy is the dedicated Business Liaison.  The City’s  Office of Economic Development staff is part of a larger Business First Team of professionals ready to answer questions and provide guidance .  Whether your business is relocating, expanding or developing a new project in the City of Riverside, the Office of Economic Development offers a reliable single point of contact through every stage of the process from site selection and resource recommendations through permitting and final inspections.

Pre-Development Meetings

Available to business customers based on individual need, we can pull together a team representing the departments critical to your project that will provide detailed analysis and review of your tenant improvement or new construction plans before they are formally submitted to the City.  This round-table review can save a business money and time by reducing the number of plan check revisions and developing a reasonable project timeline.

Fast-Track Permitting and Review

The Fast-Track Processing Team is composed of department heads or representatives with decision-making authority to “fast-track” the permitting process of specific, qualified commercial and industrial projects, waiving overtime charges for weekend inspections during the construction and/or tenant improvement installation process. Fast-Track projects are evaluated based on job creation, investment and sales tax generation criteria.

Expedited Plan Check and Inspection

While only specific projects will qualify under the Fast-Track Program, the City of Riverside strives to give efficient service to every project and provides the option for all businesses to apply for expedited service.  Applications for after-hours plan check service are reviewed and approved based on staff availability. The applicant pays the hourly rate for plan check staff to review their project on an exclusive basis outside of normal business hours.  For more information on expedited service in any department, contact one of our Business Liaisons.

Technology Ombudsman Service

Whether the need is access to capital, site selection assistance, or networking with local leaders; the Technology Ombudsman’s goal is to support the growth of local technology companies, entrepreneurs and start-ups.  The Technology Ombudsman acts as a concierge to existing tech companies as well as those looking to establish a presence in Riverside, providing a critical single point of contact for a variety of services. The Technology Ombudsman is one of several resources the City has committed to help innovation succeed and allow Riverside to become a center of high technology in the region.

Riverside Public Utilities (RPU) Economic Development Rate

The Economic Development rate is available for qualifying businesses that are either expanding locally or relocating to the City of Riverside.  It requires a four-year commitment to remain in the City. The contract offers a 40% discount per month for the first year of operation and a 20% discount per month the second year.  The discount discontinues in the third and fourth years and will adjust to the appropriate existing rate schedule.

To qualify for the Economic Development Rate your business must:

  • Relocate to Riverside bringing 500 kW of monthly electric demand or
  • Expand your existing business’ electric demand by 150 kW or 20%, whichever is higher or
  • Relocate a qualified research or technology company to Riverside or
  • Relocated a green technology or manufacturing company

For more information on all of  Riverside Public Utilities programs and incentives click here.

Business Contracting and Procurement

The City processes nearly $75 million ($25 million in goods and services and $50 million in Public Works projects) in orders and contracts annually. Services utilized include but are not limited to janitorial services, security services, landscape maintenance, printing, temporary staff services, air travel services and courier services. Public projects include street repairs, special studies and construction of buildings, engineering, geotechnical and environmental services. To be part of the competitive bidding process the City has easy electronic access to the official Bidders List.

Inclusive Marketing Campaign/Business Promotion

Through an ongoing series of city-wide promotional campaigns including an initiative to encourage local shopping, informational City newsletters, organizing special business fairs and receptions and regular City Council business recognition presentations, the City of Riverside proudly promotes and supports local businesses.

Governor’s Economic Development Initiative

The Governor’s Economic Development Initiative includes the following tax exemptions and credits:

California Competes Tax Credit -  An income tax credit available to businesses that want to come to California, or stay and grow in California. Criteria for competition includes the number of jobs to be created or retained, the extent of poverty in a business development area, a minimum compensation limitation and a set job retention period. Tax credit agreements will be negotiated by GO-Biz and approved by a newly created “California Competes Tax Credit Committee”, click here for more information.

Manufacturing Sales and Use Tax Exemption - Beginning July 1, 2014 qualified businesses are eligible to receive exemption of sales and use tax on certain manufacturing and research and development equipment purchases.  For more information about the Manufacturing Sales and Use Tax Exemption, click here.

New Employment Credit - Available as of January 1, 2014 to businesses located in census tracts with the 25% highest share of both unemployment and poverty in the state. To determine which census tracts meet the thresholds, click here.  Information about the credit including the requirements and instructions of how to claim the credit are provided by the State Franchise Tax Board, click here for full details.