Shovel-Ready Sites: Ready To Hit The Ground Running

As the demand for shovel-ready industrial sites keeps growing, more and more locations are initiating certified sites programs that streamline the approval process for new developments.

By the BF Staff
From the May/June 2017 Issue

One of the fastest growing trends in the site selection business is the demand for certified industrial sites. Companies looking to build new facilities want sites that are ready to go and relatively risk-free.

In the U.S., attracting investments and jobs is becoming more competitive than ever. To give state and local economic developers an edge in luring in new business, many states are implementing site certification programs to prepare a growing inventory of sites that are ready for business development.

certified sites
In New Hampshire, the new North Country Smokehouse in Syd Clark Industrial Park was bought by Canadian firm Les Spécialités Prodal. Planning and zoning approvals are for a 67,000-square-foot office and food production facility. (Photo: City of Claremont)

While definitions vary from state to state, certified sites means that all of the due diligence has been done on the site such as planning, zoning, surveys, title work, environmental studies, soil analysis and public infrastructure engineering. Being ready means having a portfolio of sites that are fully described before purchase, making it easy for the business to determine what parcels they will have to purchase in order to fulfill their current and future needs.

Certified sites are often the first location site selection consultants and companies will look at when seeking a new location. By having communities select and prepare sites for specifically targeted economic development, certified sites provide many advantages to companies, including a reduction in potential time delays, development cost savings and a fast track to getting products to market. Communities benefit from added economic growth and job opportunities for local residents.

Across the U.S., states have launched site certification programs with the goal of helping communities prepare available sites for investment and expansion. The certification process involves developers—working closely with their local officials, utility partners and consultants—to become better prepared to market their sites with specific site-related information and community data.

Certified sites can be a big incentive for companies, especially those looking to move quickly on getting a new facility up and running. Certified sites provide potential corporate decision-makers with less worry about surprises emerging that could delay a project’s speedy completion. That time-savings is a valuable commodity.


New construction projects are underway in Claremont, continuing a growth trend for this community of 13,300 in western New Hampshire. While some of that growth has occurred in the industrial parks and other commercially zoned properties, adaptive reuse of historic buildings in the City Center also continue to provide new opportunities.

North Country Smokehouse is constructing a new 62,000-square-foot building on three merged lots in the Syd Clarke Industrial Park. Established in 1912, North Country Smokehouse was purchased in 2015 and operates as a subsidiary of Canadian company Les Spécialités Prodal Ltee. The company produces artisanal smoked meats and cheeses and will triple production space with the new facility.

Nine parcels remain in Syd Clarke Industrial Park after the recent lot sales to North Country Smokehouse and Jewell Trucking. Crown Point Cabinetry and Canam Bridges, a division of Canam Group Inc., are located on either side of the industrial park, and the district is easily accessible to I-91. Water and sewer lines have been pulled through the park and the city has ample capacity in both. Three-phase power is readily available in the industrial districts. As part of a statewide broadband mapping program nine broadband providers currently are identified in Claremont and three technologies: asymmetric xDSL, Cable Modem–DOCSIS 3.0 Down, and Terrestrial Mobile Wireless. Download speeds are available here.

An additional 24,000 square feet of construction is underway this year at National Field Representatives (NFR) as an expansion of their existing building on Maple Avenue. NFR provides mortgage field services throughout the country. It was named third for growth among private companies in New Hampshire in 2016 by Business NH Magazine.

In the City Center, a major adaptive reuse project was recently completed by the Ink Factory Clothing Co. The company has moved into its new production and office area, retooling the former textile mill and boarding house for a new era of business use. Another 11,000 square feet of adaptive reuse will begin construction this spring at the “Sawtooth” mill by TwinState MakerSpace. The former forge for Sullivan Machine will become a home for makers, with a mission to “encourage creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship in the Greater Upper Valley Region.”

All three areas are designated economic revitalization zones. Claremont, NH as well as Sullivan County and Grafton County, are federally designated HUBZones. For more information, visit