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We had a prominent member of the Site Selectors Guild in town last week on a site visit.

He and the rest of his team visited a couple of our communities to do some preliminary due diligence on behalf of a client. This Site Selector left impressed by the synchronicity between the state, the cities, the landowners, and Rocky Mountain Power. He joked that his clients give him a hard time about focusing too much on the "intangibles” but he concluded that observing a potential deal-team early on and in-person provides invaluable insight into whether a project will be successful in that market.

This site selector also shared that many of his clients are becoming more and more focused on quality of place and that an increasing part of his business is "quantifying the qualitative." When I asked him to explain how his team tackles a qualitative assignment, he shared by way of example that they now map out the amount of green space per person in a market and quantify the number of transit stops per person. I thought that was an interesting observation and it confirmed what we have suspected for the last several months. We’re trying to get ahead of this shift in the business by enhancing our own marketing and research. In fact, we’ve been in the process of quantifying some of Utah's qualitative assets, including through publishing a soon-to-be-released Arts and Entertainment Profile. This profile will be on par with our other industry profiles and should help put some hard quantitative data behind the phenomenal arts and cultural assets we have in the state. I’ll be excited to share it with you in the coming weeks.

And on a more personal note, thanks for letting me share some of my musings with you over the last year. As you can see from the title, this is the 52nd installment of the Fox Files. What started as an experiment in how I communicate with our stakeholders has become something I really enjoy doing every week. If there’s something in economic development or our economy that you would be interested in learning more about, please feel free to tweet at me or email me and we can start up a conversation.