A company looking for the right property to grow its business has two choices: land or a site – and there is a big, expensive difference between the two.
Land is just that. It probably is flat, no environmental problems, at a good price. But a site has in place infrastructure – sewage, natural gas and power, nearby roadways, etc. It is the difference between buying a home featuring just studded walls and no roof, vs. an abode completely finished, included with full furnishings.
“Whether or not a site has infrastructure in place comes up immediately,” when a company is looking for the right place to grow,” according to Jason Hamman, founder of Ohio-based Hamman Consulting Group, which provides location advisory and site selection services for corporations.
Hamman will serve as moderator for the Infrastructure Panel, part of the program at the Second Annual Appalachian Basin Real Estate Conference, an all-day program presented by Shale Directories, scheduled for March 25, at Oglebay Resort in Wheeling, WV.
“Jason will provide developers outside the region with a comprehensive perspective of the world class infrastructure available in the Appalachian Basin region,” commented Joe Barone, President and Founder, Shale Directories.
The panel specifically will look at the impact of having air, rail and power plants near a potential development site.
The panel’s presentation is sponsored by the Monroe County (Ohio) Economic Development unit, which has contracted Hamman as its Economic Development Representative.
“The Appalachian region traditionally has been under infrastructured,” Hamman said.
To tackle that problem, Monroe County, the state of Ohio, even the federal government have numerous programs in place to help developers install infrastructure, realizing a ready-to-go site can mean revenue via taxes, possibly new inhabitants and all that goes with them.
“The Monroe County commissioners are very supportive when it comes to attracting companies, via such things as direct funding and through the Port Authority of Monroe County,” according to Hamman.
Monroe County in early February announced it has been awarded a $1.52 million Maritime Assistance Program grant from the Ohio Department of Transportation, in addition to $1.21 million in funding from the Ohio Development Services Agency’s Rural Industrial Park Loan program.
The funds are part of a $3 million infrastructure development project at the Port Authority’s “Powhatan #7” development site. Powhatan #7 is a 70-acre riverfront, industrial development site located just south of Clarington, Ohio, on State Route 7.
The infrastructure development project will include the construction of an industrial access road, as well as repair work on some of the existing 12 barge cells in the Ohio River. Engineering, design and permitting work is underway, with construction anticipated to begin sometime in Q3 2021.
The site is expected to attract oil and gas-related companies, as Monroe County sits within Ohio’s Utica Shale play footprint. O&G has been an economic shot-in-the-arm for eastern Ohio.
Every infrastructure-related program is important, Hamman said. “If a company looks at a site in your county and it is not infrastructure-ready, chances are it will be crossed off the list of potential locations for the project.”