TOP BUSINESS PARK LOCATIONS
From Site Selection magazine, November 2013
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The Changing Industrial Park Landscape
Technology and infrastructure requirements demand
that business parks today be more flexible than ever.
one are the days of evaluating real estate based solely on “Location, Location, Location.” Businesses have a host of issues to contend with when considering where to locate or relocate. Business parks that are growing, either through the recruitment of new businesses and/or experiencing organic growth with existing businesses, all have similar attributes.
Facilities/Land: Parks with facilities should allow for a multitude of possibilities. Whether the desired facility is a business incubator, research and technology, laboratory or assembly/light manufacturing, the more adaptable the facility is the better. Affordable land is equally important so companies with specific build-out requirements and or configurations can be accommodated.
Strategic Planning: Parks typically are large, fixed assets and are seen as they always have been. Things change. Parks and their ownership, interested parties, parties with vested interests and constituencies should provide settings for near- and long-term strategic planning for the park. While private-sector needs may vary from public-sector needs and funding sources, the common thread which must be present is an awareness of the realities of the park and the economic climate within which it exists. Those “realities” are centered in economics, mission, vision, location and the ability to compete in marketplaces spanning from the local market to the international marketplace.
Business parks must be relevant and practical in both use and the capability to interact with the world and move ideas, data and outcomes instantly and reliably.
Marketing & Sales Planning: A current and relevant marketing plan is essential. Parks can become seen as they always were, not as they might be. A park is a commodity. The continuous review and definition of the products the park offers, where those products are placed in terms of customer awareness, cost-competitive pricing based upon the needs of the local market/targeted customer base and appropriate promotion through the spectrum of face-to-face sales to an informative, innovative and practical website all point toward a relevant and successful marketing of the park.
Synergistic opportunities: The ability to readily collaborate and bring researchers, technology professionals and business minds where their confluence of ideas can be commercialized.
Technology: Business parks must be relevant and practical in both use and the capability to interact with the world and move ideas, data and outcomes instantly and reliably. The availability and location of data centers within parks and disaster recovery suite services within the park lend themselves to park business recruitment and increased park marketing opportunities.
The CCRs play a critical role in the longevity of a business park and can also be used as a marketing tool when recruiting new businesses to fit the mission of the business park and meet the economic demands of the area served by the park.
Proximity to colleges and universities: Access to a skilled talent base in a local city or region allows companies to better plan for the future. Universities provide access to innovation and STEM research. In the alternative, research parks provide baseline tenant sites and accommodations for potential tenant sources arising through academic research readily convertible to commercialization.
Amenities: Over recent years business parks have evolved into a place to not only work but, in a sense, a place to live. To that end, it is important to have amenities that professionals can utilize outside their respective office spaces. Examples of this would include walking trails, gym, water features/ponds and food service. Additionally, meeting rooms that can be utilized by businesses outside of the current office environment could be an additional advantage. Meeting rooms can be utilized on a daily or weekly basis. Building security and park security are equally as important.
Quality of life: Things such as affordable housing, proximity to shopping, movie theaters, restaurants, climate and transportation.
Adaptability: We live and work in a rapidly changing world. The park must have management and ownership/governance willing to innovate and adapt to the changing needs of the marketplace and regions served.
CCRs (covenant, codes and restrictions): Parks with a well-thought-out development plan will have CCRs to support them. CCRs play a critical role in the longevity of a business park and can also be used as a marketing tool when recruiting new businesses to fit the mission of the business park and meet the economic demands of the area.
Superior Site Based Customer Service: To compliment infrastructure, assets and innovation, the park must be willing to differentiate itself in terms of providing staffing responsive to the needs of industry, academia, researchers, the investment community and its customers. Organic growth is important for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the evidence provided to others that the park tangibly supports the success and retention of its customers and is good at it.
Other important aspects of successful business parks include incentives offered by local municipalities or economic development corporations, the support of local pro business governments and reliable, low cost utility service.
Company executives and employees are looking for more than just brick-and-mortar facilities. Business parks that are evolving, adapting and looking to the future will prosper where others fail.