Cities all across the country are in fierce competition to attract new businesses, expansions, and relocations because of the jobs and tax base that come with them. The goal is to attract enterprises that will complement and supplement communities. However, it is becoming increasingly difficult to differentiate with a competitive edge. Enter “shovel-ready” sites. These commercial and industrial locations are officially certified as ready-to-go and relatively risk-free.
What does a certified shovel-ready site entail?
Shovel-ready sites are ready for development. These sites are often under the legal control of a third-party or economic development agency, and have had all the zoning, planning, title work, surveys, soil analyses, environmental studies, and public infrastructure engineering completed before they hit the market for sale. It just doesn’t get much easier for businesses interested in establishing a presence in a community, especially those needing a short ramp-up period.
Are all shovel-ready sites created equal?
Although there are some standard components of shovel-ready sites, it stands to reason that not every site is going to be appropriate for every type of business. Shovel-ready certification can vary from state-to-state, but the concept of having much of the major regulatory work completed is very appealing to buyers. Taking into consideration some of the most critical components of site development, having a head start on most of the time-consuming and regulatory aspects of development goes a long way in enticing new business to a community.
Components of shovel-ready certification
Shovel-ready certification acknowledges the factors that are most critical for business site selection and includes certain criteria as follows:
- Clear Title or Development Option: It may seem obvious, but a shovel-ready site must be legally available for sale with accompanying ownership status documentation.
- General site information: Information must include: a description of all parcels, site map, schedule for approvals and permits, zoning description and current zoning plans for adjacent property, any special Economic Development Zones information, aerial photographs, current price, real estate taxes and assessments, and the identification of current and former land use of the site.
- Surveys/Studies/Tasks: In order to consider a site for building, it is necessary to know if a site is suitable for certain types of structures and uses. A site survey, geotechnical soil tests, and Phase I (and possibly Phase II) Environmental Assessments and conceptual site plan must be completed as well.
- Utility Services: The types of utilities and the service providers must be included for electric, natural gas, sanitary sewer, telecommunications, municipal storm sewer, and water and wastewater treatment.
- Transportation Access: Manufacturers need access to transportation methods in order to move products. Certification documentation needs to include information on distances to interstates and major highways, navigable river, inland and seaport access, as well as railway access.
Builders, developers, and owners all benefit
The most obvious benefit for a business or builder is the mitigation of risk when considering sites. All the preliminary tests and assessments have been completed and relevant information helps ease decision-making. Plus, if a site is ready for immediate building, that’s a quicker time-to-business which is very attractive. Not having to wait months or more to get a site prepared for development is a serious draw for businesses in a competitive environment.
Businesses appreciate the transparency in these site selections, letting them move quickly through the development and construction phases in order to get their businesses established and productive quickly. Cost is always a major factor and shovel-ready sites reduce up-front development investments, making these sites especially attractive.
Owners and communities are embracing shovel-ready certification because it helps differentiate them in a crowded marketplace. Completing the up-front assessments and regulatory requirements positions them as progressive and ready for business, just what potential buyers are looking for.
New York digs in with Build Now-NY Program
The State of New York has established its shovel-ready initiative, called the “Build Now-NY” Program, which not only provides valuable incentives for companies, but also many job opportunities for local residents. Since 1998, the Build Now-NY Program has helped attract a considerable amount of private-sector investment and offers developers, governments, and companies these benefits:
- Attractive incentives for potential buyers
- Assistance in determining development types suited for particular communities
- Ability to dramatically expedite construction projects
- State-supported marketing assistance
- Technical help with permit issues
Upstate New York welcomes new business
Upstate New York, including the urban centers such as: Syracuse, Buffalo, Utica, Watertown, Binghamton, Rochester, and Albany, is doing everything possible to grow business. The area’s diverse economy and vibrant culture provide incoming businesses every opportunity to succeed. With shovel-ready sites abounding, the state and communities are proactive in attracting new business residents looking for greater opportunities, while securing financial growth for New York communities.
VIP Structures welcomes the opportunity to work with companies, developers, and owners to create growth opportunities for business and communities.
For more information on VIP Structures, contact us below or browse our blog.