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What is a Shovel-Ready Site?

Shovel-ready sites are in growing demand among companies and site selection consultants, and they are an increasingly popular tool for communities to attract new business and industry. While definitions vary from state to state, the term 'Shovel-Ready' generally refers to commercial and industrial sites that:

  • Have had all of the planning, zoning, surveys, title work, environmental studies, soils analysis and public infrastructure engineering completed prior to putting the site up for sale.
  • Are under the legal control of a community or other third party.

Our Shovel-Ready Certified Site program takes into consideration the factors that are most important to site selectors and includes the criteria listed below.

Ownership Status

It is important for prospective buyers to know that sites can be purchased without undue complications. Ownership status documentation must include:

  • A description of the current owner
  • Documentation of title to the property

General Site Information 

Site selectors need a wide variety of information to determine whether a location is suitable. General site information must include:

  • A description of all parcels that make up the site.
  • A site map and schedule for site plan approvals and permits.
  • A zoning description of the site plus current and future planned zoning of adjacent sites. Land use maps must be provided.
  • Information about whether the site or adjacent sites fall within the boundaries of special Economic Development Zones.
  • Aerial photos noting site boundaries.
  • The current price offering for land.
  • Current real estate taxes and special assessments on all parcels that make up the site.
  • Identification of current and former land use of the site and adjacent sites.

Specific Tests and Assessments 

Site selectors need to know whether the ground on a particular site is suitable for specific structures or uses. Certain tests and site assessments must be completed and documented, including:

  • Geotechnical soil tests.
  • Phase I Environmental Assessment and Phase II (if required).

Utility Services 

The availability of utilities is an extremely important factor that site selectors consider. The types of services available at the site and the names of the providers must be documented, including:

  • Electric power
  • Sanitary sewer
  • Natural gas
  • Telecommunications
  • Water and wastewater treatment
  • Municipal storm sewer

Transportation Access 

The ability to receive raw materials and components and move finished products to market is crucial to manufacturers. Transportation access documentation includes:

  • Distances to major state highways and Interstates
  • Access to navigable river, inland or sea ports
  • Rail access to site
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