Commercial-ready sites

Voice of the Practitioner

In some rural areas, real estate isn’t even close to being ready. They have no available sites that are ready to go. Companies don’t want to start from scratch. If you don’t have anything to offer, they’ll move on. 
Jason Vangalis (Ady Advantage), Regional Consultant


Frequently, foreign-owned firms note the critical role that development-ready sites play in helping make a site location decision.  Investors need to develop property quickly, reduce risks (associated with delays in permitting and other site preparation), and limit costs (associated with enhancing the facility’s access to roads, utilities, and other infrastructure).  Regions that have sites that are certified as ready for development have a distinct advantage.


Sofidel Group, an Italian manufacturer of domestic and hygienic tissue paper, has made two greenfield investments in the last three years in Circleville, OH and Inola, OK.  In both cases, Sofidel benefited from participating in the SelectUSA Summit and worked closely with American Electric Power’s Economic Development team. Circleville was the site chosen for their first integrated U.S. manufacturing facility and the Inola River Rail Industrial Park  was an appealing certified site available for economic development.

A Portuguese fruit processing manufacturer claimed that key to its selection was “a commitment that [the town in Idaho] is ready and currently in position to guarantee that [we] can start immediately with the construction of our factory in order to meet our objectives…” (, 2013)

An Irish convenience food manufacturer chose Rhode Island over Massachusetts (where it already had facilities), saying “In searching for the right location, we wanted to find a place where we could build quickly…” “The site readiness program was a big draw for us because we’ve got a big commercial pressure on us to get things done quickly.” “We compete with neighboring states for business growth and having pre-permitted, shovel-ready land available makes us more competitive.” (, 2014)


Publications Shovel Ready Sites Are Growing From The Ground Up

Business Facilities is a full-service media brand specializing in the site selection marketplace. Business Facilities has created a community for C-level executives and economic development organizations and provides a source to help FOEs and site selection officials identify potential sites: How Certified Sites Can Expedite the Site Selection Process for Expanding Companies

Adam Garrib et. al., Munk School of Global Affairs, Univ of Toronto, 2016. This publication includes examples of states providing certified sites, infrastructure funding and targeted infrastructure incentives (pp. 18, 19, 23) to investors.

Alberta Investment Readiness Toolkit 2012: How to Prepare Land Inventory. This publication provides a how-to guide (p. 30) on building land inventory to assist EDOs to quickly and efficiently respond to inquiries from foreign investors during the first phase of site selection process.   

State Programs

Certified Wisconsin- Certified and Shovel-Ready Sites. This publication is a short description about Wisconsin’s program. And this link provides access to their website to allow searching for available sites.

What is a Shovel-Ready Site? – Minnesota Example

North Carolina Certified Sites Program Guidelines and Criteria for Certified Sites and Data


Voice of the Practitioner

Everyone says they have ‘expedited permitting.’ What they really want to know is, ‘on average, how long does it take?’
Carol Henderson, Cushman & Wakefield