By the BF Staff
From the January/February 2018 Issue
Ohio is thriving and businesses around the globe are taking notice. The Buckeye State’s nationally recognized business climate consists of a $2-billion budget reserve, a high credit rating and a competitive tax structure. Ohio continues to top lists of great states for business as decided by surveys of corporate facility investors and site consultants.
This momentum has sent a strong message that Ohio is a great state for business, attracting companies in a variety of industries and of all sizes, including entrepreneurs, middle market companies and Fortune 500 companies.
Much of this success is due to the strength of Ohio’s network of economic development organizations. These organizations make sure that Ohio has the best programs to attract and retain businesses. This network has discovered that the secret recipe might just lie in a collaborative approach to site selection.
Ohio’s business growth is driven by its strong network of economic development partners consisting of JobsOhio, a private economic development organization at the state level; six regional economic development organizations; and local economic development organizations. Through a customer-focused approach to business, this network provides support to companies at every step of the process, maintaining a relationship long after a company’s new investment is under way.
These organizations provide site selection assistance and connections to a robust network of resources and customized incentive programs. They also introduce companies to major industry players.
UNIQUE MODEL, UNIQUE IDEA
JobsOhio is an independently funded, private organization. As a privately run company, JobsOhio has the ability to respond quickly to business requests and industry trends, implementing programs and services that meet specific needs. One of these needs was an improved method of site selection. A variety of potential sites across Ohio are available for development. Some require changes and others are ready to go. In 2016, JobsOhio and its partners created and implemented SiteOhio.
SiteOhio is JobsOhio’s site authentication program that goes above and beyond a certification. Site selectors have testified that the program is unlike anything they have previously experienced.
SiteOhio is an in-depth, comprehensive and reliable process. Sites go through major review and analysis to determine their viability for companies. When they pass, they are authenticated and receive the SiteOhio seal of approval.
Local economic development organizations across the state may have their sites authenticated. Those participating must provide a collection of real estate details, including information about utilities, physical site attributes and feasibility of construction.
All authenticated sites that receive the SiteOhio seal of approval have undergone due diligence studies, are cleared to build on and are free of incompatible uses, with no limitations or insurance liability based on surrounding property. Moreover, authentication indicates the sites are ready for immediate development, guaranteeing utilities are on-site with adequate capacities.
SiteOhio’s authenticated sites have a variety of assets, including:
- All utilities, i.e., electric, natural gas, fiber, excess sewer, excess water capacity
- Proximity to large populations, some over 1 million
- 40 to 750 acres of land
- Class 1 railroad connections
- Proximity to large airports
- Access to major roadways
Also available to the site selection process in Ohio is the ZoomProspector online tool. ZoomProspector allows site selectors, advisors and executives to find, analyze, compare and store site information. Users can look at sites and buildings, analyze available talent and workforce statistics in different communities, and compare cities and counties with others in Ohio and around country. [This section was written by Kristi Clouse.]