When it comes to site selection, how can a community effectively compete? If their economic development team is marketing and promoting real estate, the answer is THEY CAN’T. Clients buy sites, not real estate. This is a distinction they identify and use in the first stages of a site search to determine which sites to eliminate – not include – as a potential location for their specific project.
In most cases, communities do not even realize their sites have been eliminated since they did not present the difference-making information necessary to keep them in a site search. Understanding the difference between real estate and a site is critical to a community’s ability to compete for capital investment and new jobs. Communities, developers, and folks in the construction industry all benefit from this approach.
InSite has bridged the gap from real estate to creating viable industrial/manufacturing sites in communities across the US through our Site Readiness Program. We bring a laser focus to making sites a high-profile target for site searches and combine it with a community education program that creates a sustainable and effective process to maximize the marketability of each site.
When communities submit sites and never know what happens to them; or they do not get enough visits… or get visits, but do not close enough deals, we can tell them why and put them a path to improve the number of visits they get and the deals they close. To date we have placed well over 1,000 sites across the country thorough our program and the results speak for themselves in new capital investment and jobs. Through our Site Readiness Program, we can address and correct anything from simple deficiencies in information that is being presented to ineffective alignment of the communities political and economic development strategies. The information that we have gathered from siting industry across the country and abroad has allowed us to see what works and what does not. Consequently, we can share this knowledge to improve how communities market not only their sites, but their region as well.
Jerry Howard is President of Greenville (S.C.)-based InSite Consulting, a multifaceted firm that provides site evaluation/site selection services, incentive negotiations, economic development consulting, and training to companies and government organizations worldwide. InSite was founded in 2004 by Tonya Crist and Rob Cornwell, who together have 50-plus years of combined experience in this field.