Preparing for Success in Economic Development
19 Jun 2018
I recently attended the Governor’s Economic Development Forum where a nationally-renowned site selection consultant discussed the top factors that company executives evaluate when choosing a locale for the relocation or expansion of their business:
- Workforce skills
- Transportation infrastructure
- Utility infrastructure
- State and local tax scheme
- Land/building process and supply
- Quality of life
- Workforce development
- Ease of permitting and regulations
- Higher education resources
For a town, having readily-available data on all of these factors is extremely important for the success of the economic development process. A company may be looking at sites in many towns just like yours, so when the time comes the argument for your town needs to be made in a concise manner. The more organized your town appears to be, the more likely company executives will want to work with you. However, some of this data requires more effort to collect than a simple web search.
Obtaining information on the land/building supply can be a time-consuming process because it requires a formal inventory to be done. This means reaching out to land owners with parcels that may be suitable for development, whether or not those parcels are being actively marketed for sale, as many people would be willing to sell their properties for the right price. By engaging with these individuals, you can build a robust portfolio of available space within your town and include information on pricing, utilities, zoning, etc. that are key considerations for a prospective business. While the process may be daunting, talking with just one or two properties owners per week will put you on the right track to both completing the inventory and growing these relationships.