Global Direct Investment Solutions

Corporate Development for a Networked World

OnTheShortList.com     SurgeUSA.org

 Add to Google Add our site search tool to your iGoogle page

ShortListNews.com

Finding Corporate Real Estate

Contact :   TEL   847-304-4655

Bruce Donnelly   bruce@gdi-solutions.com    (Biography)

Home Up Search Contacts Maps Advertise News

Up
Seek Advice
Directories
For Executives
GUIDE Tools
Highlights
Research
Projects
Professionals
Biography
Comments
Events
Introduction

If you contact professionals through our services, please let them know how you found them.  Contact us for free introductory referrals according to your interests.    Try our new CRE Search feature at www.ontheshortlist.com

Please also let us know whether this directory and their capabilities were helpful to you.

We specialize in personal, independent introductions to relevant professional service providers such as business location strategy consultants and our many economic development contacts according to the project interests of the executives we serve.

Our Professional Site Selection Tour and "Meeting Point" services also personally introduce site selection professionals who can assist communities through special research trips ("inward visits" or familiarization tours), pre-scheduled meetings at major events, and other services designed to support their competitive benchmarking analysis, investment promotion strategies, and marketing programs.  www.ontheshortlist.com

We're here to help.  Independently.

Regardless of the size of the site or facility which is needed, there are several suggestions about how to pursue the search process.

1. Call us.  Usually projects involve far more considerations than just finding an available site or building which meets the basic project parameters.  In any case, we can advise about how to proceed with the search, and can often do basic research work among our contacts to make it much easier.

2. Let us introduce a location consultant.  They can help with far more than just the "site selection" process from a corporate real estate perspective, and these other factors typically dwarf the corporate real estate issues in terms of their impact on the success and return on investment of a project.  Buildings don't create successful companies.  There are many other things which one needs to be careful to get right when choosing a new location. 

Some types of  consultants can waste of a lot of money.  Good location consultants are not that expensive, and the payback on their knowledge and work is generally very fast.  The problem is that anybody can claim to be a location consultant, so one needs to choose very carefully.  It pays to involve such a professional from the earliest stages of investment planning, because at that stage their experience can often deliver higher value, and avoid the waste of doing work which their experience shows is not really necessary.

3. Let us introduce area representatives, as explained at right.

4. Let us introduce corporate real estate professionals who have a strong position in specific markets of interest for your project.

The rest of this section shares some thoughts on the search process.  It is intended for executives who may not have faced this challenge before, since planning a major project is not something most executives do repeatedly.

5. If you choose the "do it yourself" approach, and the information we have provided through this website or any direct contact with us has been helpful, please let area representatives or service providers know how you found them, and what you think of this service.  This will help them to recognize and evaluate the actual value of supporting this free service to executives.  Their investment makes this work possible.

The "Do It Yourself" Option (see also - the risks involved)

If you want to search on your own, beyond the lists we provide, have a look at the list of corporate real estate firms, and check out the services of LoopNet, CoStar, and the new FastFacility feature of Area Development magazine, among other resources.

Some corporate real estate networks may offer the capability to search through their property listings, or may happily do a larger search if you are a client.  Local development agencies and regional utilities often maintain lists of available properties, or can undertake a local search for specific requirements if you know what you want.

If you know the places of interest, and project confidentiality or other constraints do not limit your contacts, then use our lists of area representatives to research the websites of these areas, or to contact them directly and ask about what they have available. 

They often have information about virtually any major site or facility which is available, regardless of ownership or current use.  This may reveal opportunities you won't even find through a broker yet. 

For example, there may be facilities which are being used temporarily for other purposes, but would quickly become available for the right buyer or  tenant.  There may also be closures, relocations, or other changes in progress which are expected to make facilities available soon.  Similarly, they may know about any "spec" building plans or activities, including any potential to quickly modify a facility to meet special needs.  There may also be sites which are planned for development, or are going through the acquisition or approval processes, and therefore don't yet show up as being on the market.

If you want to contact a broker to conduct a site or facility search, there is nothing wrong with that, but don't confuse their work with a location consultant who addresses the full range of critical business issues for a project, rather than just looking for a site or building with the right attributes to sell.

Location consultants can often do work in 3 to 5 months which in-house project teams would struggle to do in a year or more.  That can make an important difference to the timeliness and profitability of a project, and their negotiation skills can also yield important savings.  In short, talk to them.

When conducting a site or facility search, it can be important to define critical business needs without getting too bogged down in irrelevant or premature details related to the choice of a location or facility.  The search is basically for a place to do business successfully.  Physical attributes of the real estate are rarely the driving business issues for a project, but it is not unusual for project managers to try to define their searches in terms of site or building attributes, and this is a common problem among area representatives as well.

For example, there may be a very real need for a particular type of loading dock in the US, but in Europe the dock needs may be quite different, because trucks and freight handling practices differ.  Instead of being too specific, look for the facility first, and then consider what type of docking it has, and if there is a very special requirement, it may even be possible to add it efficiently.  If the business issue is efficient logistics for expected inbound and outbound material flows, then don't confuse that with loading docks in existing locations, because in other places the good may move differently, in different volumes.  Focus first on what the business will be doing, and the facility solution follows.

As another example, people sometimes specify that the facility must be within a certain distance of a major highway, but this can also be misleading.  For example, a nearly empty highway across southern Ohio is a very different matter from a congested highway such as the Washington DC "beltway" or the routes around cities like London or São Paulo.  Patterns of population density and traffic flows differ widely.  Instead of worrying about the miles from an interchange, focus on what needs to work.  What is the business issue?  Is it to avoid congestion that would delay shipments through heavily populated areas?  Is it to avoid movement of hazardous goods through towns?  Or do the executives just want their building prominently visible from the highway?

Distance from an airport is another common factor.  Ten miles from a major airport can include a wide variety of communities, some of which may be completely irrelevant to the search, such as places where you wouldn't want to kennel your dog, much less house executives or staff who are concerned about convenience of the location for air travel purposes.  Sites a little farther away along the right corridor may actually be more accessible to the airport, and perhaps even closer to where staff would live, which might be an issue.

The point is that searches which are based on simplistic sets of parameters, such as 40,000 sq ft with 18' eave heights and 10% office space within 1 mile of a highway and 10 miles of an airport, can give an illusory perception that one is doing a very carefully planned "site search".  Instead, one may be unintentionally screening out the best alternatives, despite good intentions.

The same is true of a search which gets down to a premature "short list" of a few preferred areas, without really considering more alternatives carefully.  It is absolutely logical that one should not spend lots of time and resources researching many places in detail, so one needs to make choices and screen the alternatives down to a few on which one can focus effort.  On the other hand, if one simply ignores the alternatives and focuses on a few choices quickly, the search may efficiently focused on reaching a suboptimal solution that will cost the company dearly over the years.  Unfortunately, once such a choice is made, the lost opportunity may not even be obvious, and the company will just throw money away indefinitely to make the choice work unless the choice was so obviously flawed that it fails, which is rare.

The point of  the explanation at left is quite simple.

Finding a new business location is a professional specialty.

There are people who do this full-time for their entire careers.

There is high value in getting their advice and assistance, because the choices will affect company operations in both the short and long term.

One of the surprisingly challenging tasks of many projects is actually the basic project definition.  The scope may be clear in terms of the number of people to be employed, type of operations to be conducted, capital investment in equipment, and so forth, but that doesn't always mean there is a clear picture of what makes one location a good choice for such a business unit, and another location less suitable.  At existing locations, there is a common tendency to ignore the attributes of the location which contribute to success, because they are easily taken for granted, while the focus tends to be on a few irritating problems and thus making sure the new location doesn't have those.  In reality, however, those problems may be insignificant irritants of minor consequence to the success of the business, whereas the other factors are critical to successful operations.

In any case, the point is that a business is rarely successful because it is within a certain number of miles of a highway or airport, or has certain physical attributes in a building.  Buildings and sites can often be adapted efficiently to meet business needs.  Businesses don't adapt well to poor location choices.  Business location selection is a profession.  Don't assume that everyone who claims to be able to compare costs, tax consequences, or available real estate knows how to do it well.  Mistakes can be costly, with no easy way out.

The same is true of facility design, interior design, project management, and other disciplines.  There is a good reason why professionals perform these functions as a specialty, and it can be false economy to avoid the use of their services.  On the other hand, it can also be a mistake to use them for tasks which are not really their specialty, even if they offer to try to be of help in that regard.  For example, there are architects who offer "site selection" services, perhaps to get involved in project plans at an earlier stage of the process.

Sometimes their skills are not needed, but that should be a careful choice based on the specific project, rather than a hasty decision by a project team or leader under time or budget pressures which the company may regret later. 

Most companies don't set up new facilities, or operations in new locations, very often.  They don't usually have a well-structured process for dealing with all the issues involved, because the projects are infrequent and perhaps quite different, such as expansion in different parts of the world, or unrelated divisions of a company.  It is very easy for extremely talented managers and executives, with the best of intentions and a lot of hard work, to make poor choices and not even realize it until it is too late to change the outcome. 

Once a company invests in a new operation, it will almost certainly be prohibitively costly to relocate it, even if problems arise.  There will be too many people who are hard to replace without disrupting company operations, or too many processes which are costly or difficult to relocate.  Inertia will favor the current configuration, good or bad, so it is very important to take the time and get good help if necessary to get location choices right in the first place.

For Professional Service Providers For Executives  Lessons Learned Proven Solutions Sharing Project Work
Location Consultants Tax Consultants International Law Firms Strategy & Finance Incentives
Corporate Real Estate Design & Construction REIT's, Developers Human Resources Utilities
Associations & Publications Governmental Sources Ports, Rail, Airports Logistics Services Global Home , Events, and News about us
Referral Process Highlights Biographic Profiles Projects and The Market Services for Economic Development Agencies Welcome Area Reps!
Major Real Estate Listings Our services for areas
Regional tables of area representatives and related contacts.
US : Northeast US : Great Lakes Canada Mexico
US : Mid Atlantic US : North Central US : Mountain South America
US : Southeast US : South Central US : West Coast Central America, Caribbean
Europe South Asia Australia, New Zealand Middle East, and Africa
China, Taiwan Southeast Asia Korea Japan

Send questions, suggestions, or comments about this site to enquiries@gdi-solutions.com Disclaimer.

Global Direct Investment Solutions, PO Box 439  Fox River Grove, IL 60021-0439  TEL 847-304-4655  FAX 847-304-5375

The use of graphics and advertising has been minimized to improve performance.  Display settings
Copyright © 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009  Global Direct Investment Solutions, Inc.      Last modified: 01/27/09