Zoning: Work with a local commercial real estate broker and a land entitlement expert. The latter will review the local zoning and development codes and consult with the local authorities before s/he will be able to give you an answer. The final answers are site-specific so you will need to define with your broker what your requirements are for the facility to operate as you planned. Then once you find your site prospects, your land entitlement expert will research the site and tell you if it will work or not without a zoning change. You don't want to mess with zoning changes. They are expensive, time-consuming and dicey.
Unless you or your husband is a high earning professional basketball player, my recommendation would be to lease your space. If your area has vacant supermarkets, national brand drug stores, or big or freestanding boxes of any kind, or even a vacant small former factory, your local government might have incentives for re-purposing such a property. It is easier for a new company to lease than to build from the ground up.
Ask you broker what you can expect in the way of a tenant improvement contribution from the landlord.
Consult your local Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) chapter through the U.S. Department of Commerce's Small Business Agency. Their courses and consultation are free or relatively free and will help you to do a business plan to figure out of your company would be financially feasible. You will need a business plan, as well as 3 years of tax returns, and your credit scores in order to qualify to lease commercial property.
If you are going to bring in investors, you must consult a seasoned business attorney to help you to structure your organization and to be sure you are not entering into a relationship that could be considered as selling securities and also lets you maintain as much control over your own business as you deem necessary.
Feb 22, 2012