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Certified Sites and Location Readiness

Posted on by Erron Smith

In recent weeks, I’ve had many conversations with corporate location advisory consultants canvasing a variety of topics that range from the role of incentives and the impact they can have on a project, to infrastructure improvements and initiatives that focus on labor force pipeline and skills training.
Regardless of what the project scope demanded operationally, there was rarely an instance in which a location was chosen after having failed to showcase an ability to service the project’s short-term and long-term feasibility standards.

And while the term location readiness encapsulates a variety of elements, for this post, I’m going to focus on location readiness from a commercial real estate short-term feasibility perspective.

As a best practice and marketing tool, most states and regional economic development focused entities tend to promote a list of sites that have been deemed “certified” or “shovel-ready.”  And while there is no governing body that “certifies” sites, nor a national standard that defines what passes as “shovel-ready," these self-defining standards are meant to communicate to a prospect that a certain amount of risk has been removed from this location and is ready to support a substantial private investment from an end-user.

A community that can showcase a site option with 1) a clear entitlement process from a local and state government perspective; and 2) provide supporting documents of due diligence that would likely include environmental studies, utility infrastructure (or planned improvements), traffic studies, archeological studies, existing approvals, restrictions, labor studies, etc., is a community and site option would have immediately established a competitive advantage over alternative locations.

When any layer of the ‘unknown’ can be removed, an equal amount of confidence and certainty is gained. These investments in site preparedness benefit both the community and the end-user by disclosing information that make it possible for both parties to make timely and well-informed decisions.  And any community competing for commercial expansion projects would be best served having a reputation for being timely and well-informed. 

If your community has efforts underway to be “certified” or “shovel-ready,” let us know!