he Port of Vancouver USA (www.portvanusa.com), located in Vancouver, Washington, celebrated its 100th anniversary in April 2012 — a century of helping generate living-wage jobs for the area's highly skilled workforce and providing economic vitality for the region.
While many ports are constrained by a lack of available land in highly urbanized areas, the Port of Vancouver has abundant land for development. Its "Centennial Industrial Park" is 108 acres of land zoned as light industrial, which consists of a 58-acre parcel of development-ready land that can be fast-tracked to meet market demands and be operational in less than 18 months. Designated as a parcel of "county wide significance" by the Columbia River Economic Development Council, Centennial Industrial Park is currently available for either short- or long-term leasing (up to 80 years), or sale. In addition, a 50-acre adjacent parcel is available for future expansion.
Just as important, the port works hard to meet the diverse needs of each of its tenants and potential customers.
"We're not your average landlord," said Curtis Shuck, director of economic development and facilities for the Port of Vancouver. "The port's experienced staff leverages relationships and works closely with local governments and agencies to streamline permitting, as well as with brokers and tenants on site selection, facilities improvements, innovative financing options, and access to the highly skilled workforce available in the area."
The Port of Vancouver's industrial tenant list supports several business clusters including steel fabrication/manufacturing, transportation/transload/warehousing/freight-forwarding, recycling and food processing. Among its newest tenants are SAPA Profiles, North America's largest provider of extruded aluminum products, and Puget Sound Pipe & Supply. In addition, Farwest Steel Corporation, one of the leading distributors, processors and fabricators of specialty steel products in the Northwest, recently purchased property from the port for its soon-to-be completed 333,000 square foot distribution, processing and production facility. The Port of Vancouver also has caught the attention of the world's largest mining company, BHP Billiton, which selected the port's Terminal 5 as the preferred site for a new potash export facility.
Globally recognized as the premier Pacific Rim Gateway to the Northwest, Midwest/Western United States and Canada, the Port of Vancouver is located at the crossroads of ocean-bound and river shipping lanes, and provides easy access to the national rail network with dual carrier service provided by BNSF Railway and Union Pacific Railroad. The port also boasts easy access to major freeways, including Interstates 5 and 84, as well as close proximity to the Portland International Airport (PDX).
Bridging the states of Washington and Oregon, the port is within the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan region and is a vibrant and attractive business location. Clark County is one of seven counties included in the Portland-Vancouver, Metropolitan Statistical Area (PMSA).
Clark County offers a friendly business environment, having quality educational systems, and providing reasonable tax rates and a solid labor force. It offers workers and their families the advantages of a major metropolitan city combined with affordable housing and quality primary and secondary education. According to the ACCRA Cost of Living Index, Vancouver's cost of living (95.6) was below the national average (100) and among the lowest on the West Coast.
Washington State is currently ranked third in the US as one of the best places to do business, and the Port of Vancouver — the third largest public port in the state — has become a magnet for industrial companies needing to reach international and domestic markets quickly. Infrastructure improvements currently underway that will expand the port's internal rail system and reduce congestion on the regional system by 40 percent, combined with the available parcels of shovel-ready land, a highly educated workforce and an excellent quality of life, open up a world of possibilities for companies that consider locating at the Port of Vancouver in Southwest Washington.
ccelerating the time to market has never been a more critical site selection factor for companies than it is right now. Shovel-ready, certified sites — particularly land tracts that have all of the requisite zoning and permit approvals in place — go right to the top of the short list when corporations are in a hurry to select a plant location.
The economic development leadership in Georgia knows this, and that is why the Georgia GRAD Sites program now offers 21 certified sites around the state for companies that are ready to make a decision.
The Georgia Ready for Accelerated Development (GRAD) Sites initiative is quickly paying off for communities across the Peach State.
"It continues to do well for us," says Randy Cardoza, formerly the Managing Director of economic and community development for AGL Resources in Atlanta. He still serves as a consultant working on the GRAD Sites program. "We have 21 sites now that have been designated as GRAD Sites, and we continue to get interest from communities that would like to participate in the program."
The program employs an independent site selection consultant, Jim Bruce of BFPC LLC in Norcross, Ga., to certify the sites. "Jim has been great with this program," Cardoza says. "We felt like we needed to have a nationally known site selection expert do the designation work to give this initiative the impartiality that it needs."
Among the work conducted on qualifying sites in Georgia are a Phase I environmental study, geotechnical work, plus historical and archeological research. It is a comprehensive process that requires a considerable investment of time, money and other resources on the part of the participating community.
"If you are serious about having a really excellent site, then you have to spend some money," Cardoza notes. "But it is definitely worth the investment."
Georgia's 21 certified sites include large land tracts in Barrow, Bartow, Bibb, Brooks, Bryan, Carroll, Cook, Dougherty, Liberty, Monroe, Muscogee, Newton, Richmond, Stephens, Toombs and Upson counties. Parcels can range in size from one to 2,000 acres each.
Bruce notes that it takes about three to six months for a site to go through the entire approval process. Once a site is approved, it receives a certificate of approval that is good for two years. Communities may then re-apply for a certificate if the two-year period lapses and no one builds on the site.For more information, please contact Pat Wilson, Executive Director of Georgia Allies, at 404-962-4000.
ou never know what an economic development organization needs to do to make the "short list" in a company's site selection process. Sometimes it's logistics. Or utilities or some other major aspect of operating costs. It may be your inventory of available buildings or shovel ready sites.
For companies in a hurry to custom build a facility to their specifications, a shovel ready site can play a leading role in finding a new location for a relocation or expansion.
"They are vital components to us.
A "must-have" for the kind of companies that we are trying to attract," said Sanders Mitchell, Administrator of the 9,000-acre MidAmerica Industrial Park in Pryor Creek, Oklahoma.
At MidAmerica, these shovel ready parcels are called "BuildNow" sites.
"They are just what the name implies," said Mitchell. "Our BuildNow sites afford the opportunity to start construction immediately without the delays that are so common with building of large industrial manufacturing or distribution facilities."
BuildNow sites do not require building permits. If a site is purchased in the morning, construction can begin in the afternoon. BuildNow sites have all the utilities in place, ready to connect.
According to Mitchell, one company closed on a BuildNow site and began moving dirt on a $100 million facility just four days later.
The park has instituted a special way of working with projects, doing research, removing barriers, helping to negotiate contracts — all as kind of a 'silent partner' working on behalf of the prospect. In most cases, the approach can yield 20-70% savings in operating costs.
"I don't think anyone in this region can match our 'MidAmerica Way' of doing business. It really is a one-stop approach to economic development. We never lose sight of who we really are working for — the industries that we have now and the prospective industries that come to us for solutions," Mitchell said.
MidAmerica, located near Tulsa and recognized as the largest industrial park in Oklahoma — and the nation's largest rural industrial park, currently has 80 firms operating at the park including over ten divisions of "Fortune / Global 500" companies.
ust 30 minutes south of downtown Dallas, the Cedar Hill Business Park is located at 850 Mt. Lebanon Road in Cedar Hill, Texas. The park is ¼ mile east of Highway 67 and easily accessible to Interstates 20, 35, and 45. The 45+ acres of vacant available property is owned by the Cedar Hill Economic Development Corporation (EDC) and offers competitive and negotiable land prices.
This shovel-ready property includes city sewer and water, technology infrastructure, natural gas, and both rail-served and non-rail served sites. In addition, the Cedar Hill EDC offers development incentives utilizing Type A sales tax funds, Triple Freeport Tax Exemption, job training assistance, corporate relocation assistance, and fast-track permitting. Other state incentives are also available.
The park is contained by an outer brick barrier wall, and has two main entrance streets with an interior cross street, all of which are lighted. Available sites are located on both sides of the park, as well as the middle section of land.
Current property owners include manufacturers such as Dualite, Metals USA, MJB Wood Group, Diamond Manufacturing, and PepWear. The Texas Department of Transportation also owns property for a regional office. Common property in the park is managed by the park's POA. The adjacent industrial park is home to the JCPenney Distribution Center and several smaller manufacturing and trucking companies.
The City of Cedar Hill is located in southwest Dallas County overlooking the beautiful 7,200 acre Joe Pool Lake. In the last 20 years the city has more than doubled in population with the current population at 46,300. Since 1999, there has been over three million square feet of retail development, one million square feet of industrial development, and 150,000 square feet of office development. The upscale shopping, dining, and offices serve the surrounding area's residents and businesses.For more information on the Cedar Hill Business Park, please contact the Cedar Hill Economic Development Corporation at 972-291-5132, or email Allison J. H. Thompson at firstname.lastname@example.org. More information, including a brochure, can also be found online at www.cedarhilledc.com.
ime is money. And Minnesota's Shovel-Ready Certified Sites save both.
Site selectors know not all shovel-ready programs are created equal. Frankly, some states just aren't ready enough. Even with their expedited process, development still takes too long.
But Minnesota's Shovel-Ready program offers a competitive edge for companies that need to move quickly. The program is exceptionally streamlined, making it possible to begin construction in 60 days or less on a certified site.
"Time is of the essence when a business wants to move," says Mike Humpal, a city official in Fairmont, a Minnesota community recognized as one of the nation's top micropolitan areas for expanding companies. "Our program tells people this site is ready to go."
Developed and implemented with the guidance of site location consultants Moran, Stahl & Boyer, Minnesota's Shovel-Ready program has an unusually rigorous certification process.
The state and consultant work closely with communities and property owners to ensure that the most time-consuming legal, technical and regulatory aspects of developing sites are already complete.
Minnesota's certified sites have had all of the planning, zoning, surveys, title work, environmental studies, soils analysis and public infrastructure engineering completed.
"Word is spreading about how well this program works," said Kevin McKinnon, business development director at the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), the state's economic development agency. "It's generating a lot of interest and getting a lot of attention from companies that want to move quickly with their plans to startup, relocate or expand."
Shovel-Ready is just one reason companies should consider Minnesota for their expansion plans.
Minnesota offers an exceptional base of talent and expertise — not to mention a proven track record of success — in several key industries and sectors, including biosciences, clean technology and renewable energy.Twenty Fortune 500 companies are headquartered in Minnesota — General Mills, Target and 3M, among them. And so are some of the country's largest private companies, including agricultural commodities giant Cargill.
usiness parks are comprised of improved, ready-to-go lots upon which developers and owner-users can build distribution, manufacturing, research and development, and office facilities. Business parks are often located near major highways and airports to facilitate the value-added processes and movement of people, goods and services.
Most major urban areas are already "built out," making the development of new business parks of relevant size economically impractical because they would have to demolish existing buildings to create ready-to-go land. The development of a business park just outside a city, however, provides added economic stimulus for developers to create retail and housing near the business park for the benefit of current and future workers in the park, adding more value to the enterprise.
Corporations and their site selectors understand that the primary criterion for investing into a community is whether or not there is a business park with ready-to-go land nearby with lot sizes and other attributes that fit their needs.Area amenities, a good work force, and even attractive government incentives are often not enough to bring businesses to an area without shovel-ready land. The time cost and risk of obtaining necessary entitlements will often cause even a "good" un-entitled site to be less preferred than an "average" ready-to-go site in an existing business park. The best way for a community to signal the corporate world that they are ready and willing to participate more in the global marketplace for manufacturing, R&D, and distribution work is to facilitate the construction of a business park.
Redding, California — located in Shasta County mid-way between Seattle and Los Angeles — has worked with local partners since 2000 to create an approximately 700-acre business park called Stillwater Business Park. The first phase of the park has the capacity to provide approximately 100 acres of ready-to-go land for a single user. The City of Redding is the lead developer for the project and plans to benefit over time from the approximately 700-acre business park by attracting businesses and significantly expanding the local employment base with ready-to-go land in one of Northern California's largest cities surrounded by world-class recreational, cultural and sporting opportunities. Redding has made the initial investment to create this business park. By doing so, the community can look forward to enhanced employment opportunities and corporate investment near their homes.
In the current economic slowdown, the temptation for many private developers has been to shelve or postpone business park projects. Stillwater Business Park has continued forward and has recently received funding that will help create the second phase of the park. As the economy turns around and corporations and their site selectors expand their operations and seek more location alternatives, projects such as Stillwater Business Park will benefit from its forward planning and community commitment, which will ensure more economic growth for the area.John Troughton is a Senior Director operating out of the Oakland, Calif., office of Cushman & Wakefield, Inc., a global real estate services company. His email is email@example.com.
arbondale Business Park, located in Dalton (Whitfield County, Georgia), was named a Georgia Ready for Accelerated Development (GRAD) site last month by the Georgia Allies."The GRAD designation for Carbondale Business Park means that it can truly compete on a global stage for new industry and the accompanying jobs," said Pat Wilson, Executive Director of Georgia Allies. "I fully believe that Whitfield County's efforts to attain the GRAD status for Carbondale will be beneficial."
The site is located in South Whitfield County off the I-75 Exit 326 (Carbondale Road/U.S. Hwy. 41) interchange. The 184-acre site, owned by the Dalton-Whitfield County Joint Development Authority, can accommodate heavy and light industrial manufacturing operations and also offers development sites for commercial and retail establishments. The image to the right shows a conceptual layout of the business park with all sites occupied and buildings completed.
The GRAD designation indicates that Carbondale Business Park is shovel-ready. Categories of due diligence and review include minimum acreage (50), ownership security, zoning designation, road and rail accessibility, utilities service, and wetlands and stream delineation.
"This shovel-ready site will help companies address their three primary concerns when choosing a new location for their business: speed, risk and cost. Our professional project managers and engineering team stand ready to assist companies interested in locating in our community," said Elyse Cochran, Executive Director, Dalton-Whitfield County Joint Development Authority.
orth Louisiana's development ready properties undergo a rigorous review process to qualify as Louisiana Certified Sites! The six sites in North Louisiana Economic Partnership's (NLEP) 14 parish (county) region, which have been certified by Louisiana Economic Development, offer many advantages. For more information, visit www.nlep.org.
Charleston Industrial Park is a 700-acre greenfield, suitable for industrial development in south Ouachita Parish with access to Interstate 20, US 165 and LA 15. The site can access two Class 1 railroads, the Monroe Regional Airport and the Greater Ouachita Port. All utilities are available.
I-20/Greenwood Road site encompasses 313 acres, conveniently located in Caddo Parish a half mile from I-20, a major east-west interstate and less than 9 miles from I-49, a major north-south connector. The property can access two Class 1 railroads, two airports and the Port of Caddo-Bossier. All utilities are available.
Millhaven North is a 725-acre site off of I-20 in Ouachita Parish, targeting clean tech, R&D, light industrial and retail businesses. Close to two institutions of higher learning, Millhaven North offers a ready labor pool. The site can access two Class 1 railroads, the Monroe Regional Airport and the Greater Ouachita Port. All utilities are available.
Port of Caddo-Bossier's North Whittington Property is a 90+ acre site which offers multi-modal access by barge, air, I-20 and I-49. Rail can be connected via a rail spur to the property, which can be served by two Class 1 railroads. All utilities are available. The greenfield site is zoned heavy industrial and available for lease only.
Port of Natchitoches' North Tract is a 360 acre site, situated ten miles from I-49, between LA 486, the Kansas City Southern Railroad, US 71 and US 84. The tract is located within a mile of the port's general cargo dock, making it accessible by pipeline, conveyor, truck, rail or barge. All utilities are available.
Ward II Industrial Park is a 950-acre industrial site with access to rail, air and interstate transportation. With tracks along the edge of the park, Kansas City Southern Railroad can serve the site. The industrial park is conveniently located near the Vivian Airport, LA 1 and US 71. It is approximately 30-45 minutes from I-20, I-49, the Port of Caddo-Bossier and the Shreveport Regional Airport.
All utilities are available.
These development ready sites have been reviewed for compliance with specific site details, such as zoning restrictions, title work, environmental studies, soil analysis, surveys and more. Contact NLEP at 318-677-2536 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about these sites and to plan a visit.
ebster City, Iowa, is where business grows. From advanced manufacturing to food processing and from iron casting to warehousing and distribution, Webster City's assets and services attract businesses that look to improve their bottom line.
Webster City's multiple shovel ready sites range from two acres to two hundred acres and each site is already zoned for light industrial uses, included within a tax increment financing district, and located in the City's Enterprise Zone. On top of that Webster City has simplified its code and permitting so that plan reviews and permits take just a few business days, not weeks or months.
Planning and Partnerships
Your business can gain confidence from Webster City's planning and preparation, which has resulted in stable finances, a AA- bond rating from Standard and Poors, abundant road and utility infrastructure to support industry of all sizes, and strong regional partnerships that support the growth of business.
One of these partnerships is with Iowa Central Community College.From their branch campus in Webster City, Iowa Central is more than capable of providing businesses locating here with customized job training programs. And, if your business qualifies for Iowa's New Jobs Training Program this benefit could be at no cost.
Moving People and Products
Don't get stopped before you even get started.Webster City's shovel ready sites are located within one mile of a four lane divided highway and less than 15 minutes from Interstate 35. That means no rush hour traffic to contend with or plan around. From Webster City your products can reach major markets in and around Minneapolis, Chicago, St. Louis, Milwaukee, Kansas City and Omaha in less than one day by truck.
Ready to Work
Iowa is a right to work state and in Webster City you'll have access to an affordable and experienced workforce drawn from a laborshed of more than 84,000 workers. With 9% unemployment and another 17% willing to accept or change employment, this means access to thousands of workers with transferable skills and experience in advanced manufacturing, logistics and distribution, and food processing.