At B&N, we believe that smart, planned development leads to a better community and a better life for those who live, work and play in that community. At the most basic level, it helps an underutilized site become a landmark project creating a new pivot point for transformation in a community or become a major industrial redevelopment or transportation connector that spurs investment. Site readiness is the driving force behind economic development, which leads to jobs, growth of the community, and a more prosperous way of life.
Regardless of the vision, most development projects begin with a piece of property, or a site. Before things get off the ground, however, it's important to determine if the site is ready to be developed and if it's the right location for the project. We complete Site Readiness Evaluations (SREs) to help clients successfully align their sites for the best possible end use and investment. The following steps will take you through the key elements of our SRE strategy.
Step 1: Site Attribute Analysis
Any initial site assessment should determine whether it's a prime location for development and, most importantly, the type of development that a site can support. To determine accessibility, for instance, it's necessary to look at things like ingress and egress. Is there a four-lane road that provides easy access? Is the interstate nearby? The availability of roads, and in some cases mass transit, can help determine if a site is readily accessible for both people and goods.
There should also be an initial assessment of the property's environmental status. Are there existing environmental issues that need to be addressed? Will subsequent development potentially impact the water and soil in the area in a way that additional precautions (and cost) should be considered? Is the site located within a floodplain? These are important considerations that must be addressed early in the process.
Sofidel Site – Pre-Construction
Step 2: Infrastructure Assessment
Like the site attributes, it's also critical to examine the infrastructure. Is the water and wastewater discharge capacity sufficient and readily available? Are there any issues related to natural gas, electricity or storm water? If a site is otherwise perfect, but there's not enough water, for instance, it might be necessary to put in a bigger water main or develop on-site well water supply to meet the needs of the new development. Adjustments may need to be made for other utilities as well.
Step 3: Solutions to Overcome Challenges
Once the potential shortcomings of a site have been identified, it's time to start looking for solutions. Let's go back to the example of an inadequate water supply. If there isn't enough water for development, it may be necessary to work with the city or county to find available funding that addresses the problem. Our team can help uncover solutions – both engineering and financial – that address the problems and make it possible to move forward with the development.
In almost every situation, we understand that economic development drives the process. That's why we look at every site from the perspective of return on investment. Whenever the situation warrants, we work with the developer to uncover agencies with the financial resources to fix any issues. If funding is needed to build a bridge, for instance, we are confident in our ability to offer funding options for cities, counties and private developers.
In that sense, we typically become an extension of our clients. When they don't have the financial resources to move forward with the necessary improvements, we find ways to accomplish the vision we helped them develop. In fact, we view an engineering problem as an opportunity for economic development to be part of the solution. Simply put, we identify the problem, and we look at ways to solve that problem.
Sofidel Site – Post-Construction
Step 4: Visioneering
Overcoming challenges often begins with asking questions. Why is our client pursuing this project? How do they define success? How can we combine their development plans into our remedial design if clean-up is needed? Or, why is this part of town the best area for development? If the answer has to do with economic development, which often translates to job creation, then we know we're on the right path.
Once you know why, then you can start asking what-if questions, which is part of what we like to call “visioneering”. What if we did this? What if we created a park? Or, what if we redesignated and/or rezoned this area for commercial or residential properties? Anything that comes after the what-if question typically drives better results and adds value to our client’s developmental pro-forma.
Determining if a site is ready for development can be a challenging process. From the Scioto Audubon Metro Park in Columbus to the Sofidel Paper Product Plant in Circleville, we have demonstrated experience with increasing site readiness and accelerating investment. For more details on completing a Site Readiness Evaluation, contact us today.