Our Goals

The goal of the business growth team is to develop and support innovative projects that not only make the city of Gary more economically prosperous but create opportunities for ownership and wealth building for residents. These projects span across sectors including: construction, real estate development, tourism and hospitality and film. By empowering Gary residents to claim ownership through entrepreneurship and community development corporations, we can ensure that residents have an opportunity to voice their concerns and ideas while sustaining the community for years to come.

Construction Management

Construction is a rapidly growing industry with bountiful opportunities for career development and growth, high earning potential and building valuable trade skills. The city of Gary can serve as an excellent area to gain and grow these skills to help build the community up here and beyond. With the need for new homes, community centers and redevelopment of business storefronts, there is no shortage of demand for local workforce who can have a hand in changing the face of Gary.

Plans for constructing affordable, high quality housing are in the works along with business spaces and mixed use community spaces. If you are interested in learning more about becoming a part of the revitalization please sign up for more information below.

Restaurant, Retail & Hospitality

Innovative new programs, building new sites and hosting new people in the City of Gary will require restaurants and accommodations. This means restaurants to feed visitors, guests, casts and crew. This means accommodations via hotels and AirBnBs. Opening up new restaurants will require Gary residents to brush up on their entrepreneurial skills and be ready to open their own businesses. If you have ideas for restaurants or cafes please sign up for more information. Home cooks of today can be the new restaurant owners of tomorrow.

Film Media

The film industry is a multi billion dollar industry with no plans to slow down any time soon. Hollywood may be best known for producing movies, but why not bring a piece of the action to Gary, IN. Between its convenient location outside of Chicago, natural landscape and the number of buildings that can be repurposed- Gary has potential to be the film capital of Indiana and the go to filming site in the midwest US.

There are currently 3 phases under development for Gary Film:

Gary Film = major component of business growth

Phase 1 focuses on retrofitting abandoned schools to be used as sound stages and film studios. Phase 2 focuses on building a full 30 acre film lot. Phase 3 is taking advantage of the film media fund tax credit to incentivize independent filmmakers and studios to come to Gary.

Eco-tourism & Real estate development

Eco-tourism: Eco-tourism is defined as “tourism directed toward exotic, often threatened, natural environments, intended to support conservation efforts and observe wildlife.”Gary’s natural landscape and location along Lake Michigan along with its proximity to Indiana Dunes National Park makes it an excellent location for tourism. The goal for our ecotourism industry is to make Gary a place people want to be and to break the stigma that currently surrounds the city.

Real estate development: Safe, affordable, quality housing that is accessible to the residents of a community is crucial to building the wealth and security of a community. We intend to make homeownership and access to housing attainable for the residents of Gary through redevelopment of existing homes and construction of new housing.

Are there any other industries or opportunities being developed that we may not be aware of? Leave us an email with comments, questions and suggestions! We’re looking forward to hearing from members of the community who want to see Gary grow.

New Programs


(Coming soon)

Meet the Busines Growth Team

       Teresa Sabatine

Teresa has worked in the entertainment industry for 14 years with experience ranging from acquisition to production assistance. Teresa was the first film commissioner for the city of Indianapolis and built a creative class while lobbying for film tax incentives. Her efforts were successful in getting legislation passed in the last year.

She currently works as a business and psych coach to female business founders with focus on mental wellness, burnout recovery and prevention.

      Denise Burgess

Denise Burgess is President and CEO of Burgess Services, Inc., a Denver, Colorado second generation 48-year-old construction firm.  Current projects include part of the City of Denver management team for the $225 million Colorado Convention Center Expansion and just awarded the Denver International Airport Baggage Handling System with PCL Construction. She became the first African American Board Chair on the 150th anniversary of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce in September 2017. She has been listed in the Top 25 Most Powerful Women by the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce, Network Journal’s Top 25 Most Influential Black Women in Business in the U.S., and a Colorado Black Business Hall of Fame Inductee

          Chris Senegal

Christopher Senegal is a Social Impact Real Estate Developer that focuses on zero displacement redevelopment of neighborhoods primed for revitalization.  His approach is recreating complete communities with all income levels and advocating for group ownership. This makes the communities attractive for small businesses, grocers, and employment hubs to see the benefit of anchoring in the area. The goal is achieved by attracting residents back to the community that grew up in similar environments and now see the benefit of being a part of the solution.

       Phoenix Jackson

 Phoenix Jackson, is an award-winning impact entrepreneur and communications strategist. Jackson is the Founder of The Phoenix Affect, a 17-year-old, global public relations, communications, and business development firm. She has worked with many small business owners, non-profits, professional athletes, entertainers, authors, speakers, politicians, NGOs, and government entities, helping them to manifest their desired outcomes in business. Phoenix takes pride in working with forward thinking entities, ensuring a positive and impactful outcome for the people that they serve.