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How Site Selectors Choose a Location

Location selection takes on different approaches depending on the situation and the experience of the project team. However, in the end it is a process of elimination that takes place in two phases.

The process begins with either an initial list of preferred locations or specific criteria for which to build a list. Location lists are frequently based on counties for manufacturing and distribution projects and on cities (metropolitan statistical areas or MSA’s) for headquarters, back office and R&D projects. The county-level analysis allows for more defined geography that can be better differentiated (e.g., locations near Interstates). 

It is important to note that the local economic development agencies are usually not contacted until Phase II for site visits unless the project team does not have experience in data collection. Also note that real estate-related information is required at several points in the process.

When making real estate decisions, many companies will first seek the availability of existing buildings (unless the building they need is highly specialized) and then consider potential sites in an attempt to reduce startup time, minimize risks and reduce cost.

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