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Mid Atlantic Real Estate Journal — Economic Development — January 27 - February 9, 2012 — 29A

E CONOMIC D EVELOPMENT By Jon Scott, Berks Economic Partnership Site Selection: Or Is It?


hy would a business headquartered on the West Coast or

nificant ratios; and •A lack of available and ap- propriate stand-alone build- ings between 25,000-50,000 s/f in areas zoned for com- mercial and industrial use are some examples. So why have various proj- ects actually successfully landed in Greater Reading? Greater Reading puts forth one of the highest levels of overall customer professional- ism and delivery of services than many communities in the country. In fact, our region, as of this writing, is currently on a short list for a large call center because

the team at Berks Economic Partnership immaculately responded to all questions and concerns that the search company had. Secondly, the company is firmly convinced we have a workforce to meet their needs – including being able to hire over 100 bi-lin- gual individuals. The cost for leasing is favorable, and their entire operation can be outfitted in a timely fashion to meet a quickly approach- ing timeline for starting their operations. Being nimble and agile in site selection is absolutely critical. At the end of the day, siting

a company in Greater Read- ing is an extremely complex business. In a number of instances, entities such as Berks Economic Partnership do not have control over many of the critical components that a company uses in its evaluation process. However, we, along with our economic development partners, do everything we can to respond as quickly and accurately as possible; and make sure that everyone involved in the deci- sion–making process knows that our community is open for business and is a great place to live and work.

At Berks Economic Part- nership, Jon uses his leader- ship skills and management experience to mobilize the multiple resources of the Greater Reading economic development community. His goals are to retain existing business, attract new indus- tries, and foster a competi- tive business environment through aggressive market- ing aimed at creating sustain- able and diverse employment opportunities for current and future generations. Jon C. Scott, President and CEO, Berks Economic Partnership.

abroad want to do an ex- pansion of its ope ra t i ons in Greater R e a d i n g (and when I say “Greater Reading,” I am referring to all of Berks County).

Jon Scott

To start with, we have over 100 million people within overnight delivery; we have a significantly lower cost for doing business than near- by East Coast metro areas, which includes the cost of real estate and labor; and we have a multitude of quality of life amenities. However, the site selection process is extraordinarily intricate, and every project takes on twists and turns throughout its evo- lutionary process to the point where a final determination is made. The phrase “site selection” is, in fact, an anomaly: it is really a site elimination process. Many site location searches begin by looking at multiple states and multiple communities within those states. Greater Reading has been in this “site elimination” situation many times over the last several years and frequently, confidentiality is paramount. Some, additional core in- gredients that impact the process is the availability of a property or a site that can accommodate the company’s needs: this is particularly important with existing or new large manufacturing projects that have specific heavy infrastructure needs. After meeting the physical requirements, a talented workforce pool is always next on the list. However, since 2008, the importance placed upon state and local incen- tives has risen dramatically in the determination process. Furthermore, overall costs for infrastructure and utilities play an incredibly important role. Over the last year, Greater Reading has lost projects to other communities for these following reasons: • An environmental con- cern surfaced during a build- ing’s final inspection; • Other states out-gunned PA state incentives by a sig-

Business sizzles when you connect the right resources.

Berks Economic Parthership can bring you together with the resources that take your business to new levels of success: • Workforce development

We are happy your business is here. That’s why we want to make certain you have access to all available resources that can help your business expand in Greater Reading. Contact us today.

• Access to funding and incentive packages • Mapping and customized workforce analyses • Wage and salary information • Regional data and demographics • Comprehensive databases of available office, commercial, and industrial properties • Introductions to service providers and business leaders



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