The Roanoke Regional Partnership is launching a new site identification and evaluation effort to update an earlier, revolutionary endeavor launched in 2014. That initial site study effort led to the identification of the Wood Haven Technology Park and Summit View Business Park. The Roanoke Regional Partnership is partnering with Timmons Group who will utilize GIS technology to identify site-investment options.
When it comes to facilitating new business locations or the growth of existing businesses, the availability of prepared real estate is vital to the success of business-attraction efforts. The Roanoke Regional Partnership and its local government partners have been leaders in implementing real estate development strategies. Research from the Partnership has consistently shown that larger acreage requirements typically correspond to significant employment creation, higher wages, and notable capital investment profiles. Why does this matter? More jobs at higher wages create more significant economic spinoff, more benefit for area business, and more opportunity for residents. Higher capital investment generates more revenue for local governments to fund the services that residents need and enjoy – emergency services, refuse collection, parks/recreation, education, libraries, etc.
The region has seen significant success – Eldor Group, Munters, Lowe’s, and Traditional Medicinals are all examples of recent investments that were made possible through the availability of quality greenfield sites. The Roanoke Regional Partnership has seen a significant increase in opportunity particularly with the development and preparation of additional 100+-acre-site options. Demographics and labor-market data show the region has a diversity of industry and a concentration of population that is unique along the Interstate-81 corridor, suggesting a unique advantage when it comes to workforce. Interest in our region is at an all-time high.
The timeframe to develop a quality site can vary significantly depending on the site’s natural characteristics, distance to utilities, transportation access, and other factors. Acquisition and improvement can take as little as three years or as many as five to six years. Strategic evaluation of site options can direct public investment towards preparing competitive real estate opportunities.
Site selection is an elimination process. If a region cannot demonstrate availability of quality real estate with rapid development timelines and availability of utilities, it will struggle to compete for new investment opportunities of significant size. Development of next generation real estate sites and the identification of potential future investments will prepare the region for success in the years ahead.