New initiative builds upon ongoing Mega Site efforts to gain speed to market
Attracting industrial and other large corporate expansion projects to Utah can hinge on having shovel-ready properties with engineering and other studies in hand. The Economic Development Corporation of Utah (EDCUtah) is pleased to announce the launch of the Site Ready Utah program to address the needs of expansion projects for timely and precise data.
“When it comes to economic development, we realize the importance of having real estate product that’s vetted and ready for serious consideration by a company,” said Dan Hemmert, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity (Go Utah). “This program will help Utah communities, urban and rural, accelerate their product development efforts and earn more looks from professional site selectors.”
The Site Ready Utah program incorporates the existing Mega Sites program, which focuses on properties of 400 acres or more. A new element – Certified Sites – targets properties of 50 to 400 acres in size. Both Mega Sites and Certified Sites include due diligence work that shortens development timelines and reduces client risk.
“With support and funding from Go Utah, we have pursued the Mega Sites program for more than two years, and currently have a dozen sites across the state,” said Colby Cooley, vice president of business development. “The addition of smaller Certified Sites will give us added flexibility and speed to market, which is the name of the game, particularly for the increased number of manufacturing projects we’re seeing in our pipeline.”
There are levels of due diligence in the Site Ready Utah program. The most rigorous is Mega Site Stage 2 certification, which includes extensive technical data, some of which a qualified engineering firm will need to provide including Phase 1 ESA, ALTA Survey, geotechnical soils reports, and more.
Documentation required for Certified Sites is less extensive and more readily obtained, and includes maps showing ownership and acreage, labor availability, tax parcels, infrastructure, transportation, FEMA flood plain, and topography.
“One thing to note on all levels, the programs involve at least a basic review of infrastructure,” said Elvon Farrell, EDCUtah Community Strategist and program manager. “To be a Certified Site or Mega Site, you don’t have to have, for example, infrastructure to your site, but you do need to have engineering reports that indicate to the client how soon and at what cost adding that infrastructure would take. That kind of information alone can minimize risk in a client’s eyes.”
EDCUtah works with local communities to complete the Certified Sites and Mega Sites process. Costs are shared, in partnership, by Go Utah, communities and land owners, to help local partners overcome the hurdles of certification financing, Farrell said.
“EDCUtah formed an advisory committee of our public and private-sector investors to help us develop all aspects of the Site Ready Utah program,” Farrell continued. “The professional expertise and input on program requirements and cost estimates has been invaluable.”
With the launch of the Site Ready Utah program, EDCUtah has discontinued its long-standing Sure Sites program. For more information on the process to certify a property and add it to the Site Ready Utah site, contact Elvon Farrell at [email protected].