PCED Staff Note: This week’s post is part of a series on evaluating site selection factors from a local perspective titled, “Site Selection Factors”. The aim of the series is to outline the criteria used by companies to determine where they will build new facilities or expand existing ones. We will examine the top 10 factors as adapted from Area Development Magazine’s, “The Top Factor’s to Navigate the Location Maze”¹. Those factors, listed in order of priority, are as follows: Availability of Skilled Labor, Highway Accessibility, Quality of Life, Occupancy or Construction Costs, Available Buildings, Labor Costs, Corporate Tax Rate, Proximity to Major Markets, State and Local Incentives, Energy Availability and Costs. Guest bloggers will contribute each week from their area of expertise. Some topics may span multiple weeks.
Available Buildings – State Response
SelectNC for Person County
Pick a question. Any question. If you don’t know the answer, what is the next thing you do? You Google it. You ask Siri. You head to Bing. The answer and information you need is quite literally at your fingertips. We are all used to getting up-to-date, accurate information that is presented attractively and is easy to read.
In Economic Development, corporate decision makers, recruiters, and site consultants turn to the web first to research potential locations for new operations. Any state that wants to close the deal must make sure its online presentation of properties is a good one.
With that in mind, the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC) recently revamped the state’s existing database of available commercial sites and buildings, AccessNC, and relaunched it as SelectNC. With collaboration between local ED offices, EDPNC, and the NC Department of Commerce, this goal of revitalizing the state’s search tool is finally coming to fruition.
SelectNC is provided through contractor Community Systems, which offers well-regarded GIS-enabled websites and software for the economic development industry. Not only does SelectNC seamlessly integrate with statewide and local demographic data, it better ensures data integrity and accuracy. To ensure the most up-to-date and accurate data, the system automatically and regularly alerts local economic developers to verify their self-reported property descriptions.
If a property’s data hasn’t been actively checked or revised over a 120-day period, the system emails a reminder to the local developer – the real expert on the property – to confirm the location description or risk having it made unsearchable until it’s verified. Previously, there was no high-level monitoring, automated or otherwise. The greater assurance of up-to-date information will make it easier for EDPNC business recruiters to quickly identify possible locations for a prospective company and present viable options. That time saved is a key advantage, especially when several states are competing to attract a new employer.
The site also offers more ways to search any particular area of the state. SelectNC enables a user to draw radial or polygonal shapes around key locations, such as a stretch of highway a prospective company must be near. The company can then identify buildings and tracts within the defined area. SelectNC also provides specific details about communities, including industry presence and demographics such as consumer spending, income and educational levels. The view also maps railways, higher education facilities, airports, intermodal hubs and more.
The improved platform, which offers updated technology and data as well as much easier navigation and searchability, wouldn’t have been possible without the support of private funding from the North Carolina Railroad Company and the Railway Association of North Carolina. They invested in the EDPNC specifically to support SelectNC, which went live in January.
Over the coming months, we plan to provide additional information via SelectNC, the state’s go-to online portal to information about available properties at the state, regional and local levels. We are pleased with the roll-out of this new database and we look forward to working with our local partners to make sure that we are always putting our best foot forward.
¹ “The Top Factors to Navigate the Location Maze.” Area Development, Volume 51, Number 4, Q42016, pp. 24-36.
Ms. Katy Parker
Business Recruitment Coordinator, EDPNC
Katy Parker has been with EDPNC since its inception in 2014. Katy handles client intake calls and general inquiries regarding the recruitment process. As Business Recruitment Coordinator she supports the project managers with building searches, RFI submissions, and anything else that needs to be done to support the project. A native of Raleigh, NC and graduate of Appalachian State University, Katy has lived in North Carolina her entire life. She takes great pride in being able to work hard to give back to the state she loves to call home.