A $35,000 grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is funding the creation of a regional database of available industrial buildings and sites. The Southeastern Partnership is matching the EDA funds on a dollar-to-dollar basis.
“It’s important that our regional marketing have its own buildings and sites database,” says Martie Butler, economic developer for Richmond County. The database will be a web-accessible inventory of quality industrial properties, with images, dimensions, utility, zoning, pricing and other information. “We know that the majority of business location searches begin with existing building,” says Butler. And it’s a one-stop-shop for clients looking at the region who would otherwise have to navigate a patchwork on individual county websites. “This way it’s uniform,” she says, “which makes for a much better presentation.”
The database’s unique design will enable county economic development professionals to add and remove listings and update information. The new system, in fact, will enable counties to customize their own sections. Previously, most counties either operated their own free-standing site databases or relied on a statewide site managed by the Department of Commerce. The Southeastern Partnership is now reviewing proposals from qualified vendors in anticipation that work will begin on the database in September. Included in the budget for the new site are funds that will be used to train local economic developers on how to maximize the database’s capabilities.