“Today we are giving notice to site selectors and corporate real estate executives that these Iowa sites can get their projects up and running very quickly and we have mitigated the site risks,” Debi Durham, director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority said during a statehouse news conference. “Put simply: certified sites give us an edge on competition.”
Officials in the four cities have ensured there are no environmental or historical factors that could derail a project on these sites.
“The certification process requires documentation of three key areas. A site must be available. It must truly be for sale with established price and terms,” said Kimberly Williams, who works for the national consulting firm that has confirmed the sites will work for business development. “It must be servable. Both utility and transportation infrastructure must be either at the site or a detailed plan must be in place, including a cost and schedule, and a site must be developable.”
The state’s economic development chief told reporters Iowa recently lost out on a “major” business deal because the price of the property was “a moving target,” so ensuring there’s an established price is key.
“Although much work has been done by these four communities to achieve certification, the next phase of landing projects to locate at these sites is just beginning,” Durham said.
The state paid the consulting firm $244,000 to certify these sites and will spend another 160-thousand to market these four sites to business prospects. Durham expects by this time next year 11 other sites around the state will have completed the documentation to be certified for development. Her ultimate goal is to have one certified development site in each of Iowa’s 99 counties.