Business park deemed shovel-ready
EDGERTON Rock County now has its third shovel-ready business park, and one economic development official said it's just a matter of time before companies start building on the properties.
Rock County 5.0 announced today that Edgerton's Business Park has earned the Ady-Austin consulting group's shovel-ready designation.
Edgerton joins Beloit and Janesville as Wisconsin's only, third party certified shovel-ready industrial/distribution sites, said James Otterstein, Rock County's economic development manager.
Rock County is considered a leader in the shovel-ready movement. The state is working on a similar program, "Ready, Set, Build," which has yet to certify any sites in Wisconsin.
The Edgerton park has 42 acres of land certified as shovel-ready.
In 2010, Rock County 5.0 paid a site selection consultant to certify the 224-acre Highway 11 Business Park on Janesville's south side and the 230-acre Gateway Business Park in Beloit as shovel-ready.
The consultant reviewed more than 200 variables at each site and compiled a report that addresses ownership, property, transportation, utility, environmental and community issues. The idea is to eliminate barriers that might dissuade a company from locating in one of the two sites.
Because Rock County 5.0 has done the certification work, prospects could start construction in as few as 30 days and avoid a six- to eight-month delay while they pay someone else to certify the property.
In addition, prospects can use a full suite of tools Rock County 5.0 offers at each of the sites, including an online portfolio of six building designs that meets building codes and the requirements of the county's three shovel-ready industrial parks.
The buildings range in size from 59,000 square feet to 700,000 square feet. Each includes a profile with detailed specifications, floor plans, a site plan and renderings. Prospects would not need to pick one of the six buildings, but they would at least have an initial idea of what could be done.
Frank Spano of Austin Consulting said the shovel-ready designation process resembles the methodology businesses deploy when conducting their site selection processes.
The Edgerton designation represents a joint effort between Rock County 5.0, the city of Edgerton and the Edgerton Economic Development Corp.
"I can attest to the rigors of this shovel-ready process, the application that it offers and the value-added benefits provided by this designation," said Ramona Flanigan, Edgerton's city administrator. "The accuracy and the compilation of this data will assist with positioning the city's overall economic development efforts."
Otterstein said very few Midwest companies have completed expansions at previously undeveloped sites in the last couple of years.
"The Chicago area is a key indicator, and in 2010 and 2011 there was virtually no greenfield expansion to speak of," he said. "That's been picking up a bit.
"More and more companies are saying that shovel-ready sites are the major qualifiers for properties under consideration. We think there will be renewed enthusiasm for this type of real estate product because the existing portfolio of space is rapidly declining."
Otterstein said the designation reinforces Rock County 5.0's "Rock County Ready" advertising campaign that's primarily targeted at the Chicago market.
Rock County 5.0 is a five-year public-private economic development initiative designed to reposition and revitalize the county's economy.