Keep these key items in mind during the site selection process
Constructing and starting up a new refrigerated distribution center can be a daunting process. Before that process can even occur, great effort is placed on selecting the right location.
Site selection first starts with understanding the client’s core business. What portion of the business will this new site manage? High-level mapping of the product transportation routes allows us to recognize the best areas and roadways in an effort to minimize truck travel distances. Once the potential areas and pathways are identified, the next steps are to understand base building size, proposed project investment, truck traffic, and employee counts. With this information, the site selection search can start to be refined. A land site search is now focused on potential parcels suitable for the proposed development.
Detailed land searches historically start with finding a real estate broker. While a single broker can be a good start, one should consider utilizing several brokers with protected interests. The State/Local Economic Development Agency is a great resource to gain a better perspective on available parcels. Parcels should then be reviewed and graded against a list of criteria important to the development. Some criteria might include:
- Interstate access and improved roadways
- Cost per acre
- Development costs (roadway extensions, clearing, crops, utility infrastructure, water flow, grading, and geotechnical)
- Zoning and permitted uses
- Currently available utilities and connection fees
- Truck logistics support (truck refueling, wash, certified scales)
- Floodplains, wetlands, easements, storm water regulations, traffic, FAA and park covenants
As potential land parcels narrow, this becomes a good time to engage the respective municipality to better understand the planning, zoning, and permitting processes. Additionally, while engaging the municipality, start working on State and Local incentives as well as labor force availability, demographics, housing, and other quality-of-life factors.
Sometimes the higher cost-per-acre parcels may be more advantageous than lower cost-per-acre parcels because they may already have utilities to the site. This can increase the speed of construction and get the facility operating sooner.
As businesses grow, and no matter what the developmental goal, land always comes first. Selecting the right parcel in the right location is a decision that will pay dividends for the life of the business.
For more information, or if you want help with your site selection process, please email us with any questions or call us at (260) 490-3000.