Carbon County now has seven certified sites listed in the SURE Sites online program, a tool that allows site selectors and in-house corporate real estate managers from across the globe to evaluate potential Utah properties for relocation or expansion decisions. UtahSURESites.com has received hits from visitors in 13 different countries, the majority coming from the U.S., Canada, Spain, Australia and the Czech Republic. During October SURE Sites received more than 2,600 page views and has received more than 9,000 during the past four months.
The SURE Sites idea was first floated by the Governor's Office of Economic Development (GOED), which also helped fund the project along with a generous grant from Rocky Mountain Power. UtahSURESites.com was officially launched in 2006.
Sherrie Martell, public development manager for EDCUtah, says "SURE Sites" (Select Utah Real Estate) are industrial buildings, office buildings and land developments that have received detailed levels of due diligence and screening against a predetermined set of economic development criteria. The certification process requires property stakeholders to answer specific questions about their properties and their location, including the availability of infrastructure, quality of life, local economy, labor force and utility costs. Martell says the stakeholders submit the data to EDCUtah for addition in the SURE Sites database, which can then be accessed 24/7 via the Internet from anywhere in the world.
The SURE Sites program helps economic developers get ahead of the due diligence curve and allows them to showcase their sites without time delays and significant marketing costs. Old school, reactionary economic development processes have been replaced by proactive planning and the advance identification and mitigation of site problems, Martell adds.
Of the 100 properties in the SURE Sites database, some are shovel-ready, others are not. Of the cities participating, Salt Lake City has the most certified sites with 12. On the county level, Salt Lake County has the most with 26. Martell says Port 15 in Cedar City is probably the largest certified site, with 3,000 available acres. A few of the many other properties in the SURE Site database include:
- Business Depot Ogden in Ogden, Weber County
- Anderson Geneva in Vineyard, Utah County
- Beaver City Industrial Park in Beaver, Beaver County
- Brigham City Municipal Airport in Brigham City, Box Elder County
- Fort Pierce Industrial Park in St George, Washington County
- Green River Industrial Property in Green River, Emery County
- Utah Industrial Depot in Tooele, Tooele County
- Salina Commercial Center in Salina, Sevier County
- Pierce Swenson Property in Price, Carbon County
"Site selection decisions are made at blistering speeds these days and EDCUtah's SURE Sites program puts us ahead of the competition," says Michael Flynn, vice president of public development. "It also levels the playing field for both rural and urban properties across the state, presenting customizable data and maps that depict property details, transportation corridors, available utilities and population sectors—everything a site selector wants to see."
Flynn says site selectors and in-house corporate real estate managers can query the database using specific criteria, such as building square feet or land acreage, the proximity to rail or highway corridors and the availability of utilities, and generate a list of qualifying sites from across the state. In addition to numerical data, SURE Site properties are linked to interactive maps that display geographic information such as the locations of streets, highways, freeways, cities, counties, bodies of water, rivers, railroads, points of interest, major educational facilities and parks. All of the maps are completely interactive and the information displayed is determined by the user.
"Site selectors can analyze the strengths and weaknesses of a property in a matter of minutes, rather than waiting days and weeks to receive hard-copy data from local economic developers," Flynn says. "Given the accelerated economic development dynamics and global competition, the SURE Sites program gives Utah a competitive edge, while balancing the interests of both urban and rural economic development efforts. Best of all, it enhances EDCUtah's ability to quickly showcase properties from across the entire state," Flynn says.