By Shaun Donovan, CREDC Economic Development Specialist
The Capital Region Economic Development Corporation (CREDC) serves as a catalyst for business development within Cumberland, Dauphin and Perry Counties by offering services such as loans, economic development incentives and business location support. Many of the programs are aimed at helping existing businesses within the region grow and prosper. We do, however, help businesses find the appropriate location for their business through our site selection program.
The site selection program is a way for businesses to confidentially search for properties that meet their criteria. Whether it is an existing building, or a lot for development, CREDC helps guide the process in matching potential businesses with their ideal location. Our incoming projects come from four sources: direct calls from companies, the Governor’s Action Team, Pennsylvania’s Offices of International Business Development, and site selection consultants. We help these groups by working with the commercial real estate community. CREDC does not directly benefit from site selection activities. We act as a conduit for matching companies with the correct site and encouraging the business to stay in the region or locate here from other places.
To assist with the site selection prospecting we have access to a statewide database of available commercial and industrial properties through http://www.pasitesearch.com. Properties listed in this system can be viewed by the public and is the first place that the Governor’s Action Team looks whenever a new project is created. Many of our incoming projects already have preferred locations listed on the PA Site Selector website. Commercial Real Estate agents are encouraged to include information about their properties to the site which is available at no cost. The website directs any questions about building or lots to the real estate agent that has the listing posted.
One reason that companies come to CREDC for site selection is to remain anonymous through the initial phases of their search. There are many reasons that companies prefer to remain anonymous such as labor concerns, competitive forces, and publicity concerns. Often these companies are in the very initial stages of their search and do not want to be known until they can evaluate the opportunity and make a preliminary decision. Some companies eventually reveal who they are but many remain anonymous.
CREDC works with companies from around the globe that are looking to find a location. Some of the projects involve comparing our region to other places around the country. Other projects have a more local focus in which companies are only looking at several counties. In addition to locating the site, we provide information to the company about the region and help the company find resources to make the project work. This includes adding regional information to RFI requests and working with the Governor’s Action Team on developing packages for a company looking to locate here. By working together with the commercial real estate community, we have been successful in attracting both large and small businesses. Some of the most recent businesses include Lennox Industries, Quality Bicycle Products and WorldPantry.com. Last year, we completed three site selection projects in our region. Currently, we have a few projects that are in the final stages.