Monday, November 19 2018
By Phil Schneider, President, Schneider Strategy Consulting LLC
In 20 years, certified and shovel ready site programs have evolved from a unique tool and competitive advantage to economic development table stakes. Site readiness programs in one form or another have become an established part of many, if not most, economic developers’ tool kits. Site readiness programs are established in over 30 states, developed and managed by state and local economic development organizations – both public and private – chambers of commerce, electric power utilities, railroads, port authorities, and other industrial development entities.
The reasons for their increasing popularity and ubiquity are clear: speed to market is increasingly critical in the site selection process, companies are no longer willing to bear the cost of extensive due diligence for multiple sites on their own, and the risk of site timing and condition unknowns has become unacceptable in the location process.
Wednesday, January 10 2018
By Lisa A. Bastian, President, Bastian PR
In this brave new world of two-day delivery being the norm for online purchases, it seems people expect speedy delivery of just about everything that affects their personal and professional lives.
In the economic development world, that idea is somewhat embodied in the increasingly popular concept of "shovel-ready" sites available to relocating and expanding businesses. After all, time is money. And if a site is ready to roll now for development to meet production timelines, without the need to wait months for loads of research, what's not to love about that?
But the devil is in the details. The definition of what makes one site "ready to go" in one state can differ in another state. Typically a shovel-ready site is one whose ownership is clearly established and is ready for development, and is currently – or could be quickly – serviced by local utilities and infrastructure.
Wednesday, September 14 2016
By Beth Land, Consultant and Mark Sweeney, Senior Principal of McCallum Sweeney Consulting
Companies continue to put pressure on the time allowed to make a location decision and get their product to market. At the same time, a pervasive problem across the country in economic development is a shortage in available quality industrial sites and buildings. The combination of these two problems have increased the importance for communities to be prepared with fully-vetted, fully-served, available industrial properties. By completing substantial amounts of due diligence and prep work ahead of time, it puts the community at a competitive advantage to meet a company’s demanding schedule and land a project.
This concept is not new. Roughly half of the states have some level of a site certification program. In addition, rail and utility providers have created programs to produce more competitive properties in their service territory. Communities and individual property owners are seeing the value in completing certification to attract prospects. However, the era of ‘build it and they will come’ is over. Ten years ago, having a certified property was an anomaly and enough to set a community apart from the competition. Now communities everywhere are actively developing a portfolio of industrial properties. Certified sites that can be given at little to no costs to companies have almost become expected in the site selection process. So the question no longer is, should I prepare a certified site? The question should be, now that I have a certified site, what should I do to actively market the property? Before marketing is addressed, we will try to define a certified site.