JobsOhio launched a new site selection tool called SiteOhio designed to provide easy access to businesses looking for locations to either develop new facilities or buy/lease existing buildings. The easy to use web based tool allows you to search by the following parameters:
- Available buildings of a certain size
- Vacant land based on acreage
- Businesses that may be for sale
- Properties in specific communities by either city or county
The site selector tool allows you to compare filter properties by energy or broadband capability or labor force. The tool is designed to allow businesses to more quickly identify sites that meet their needs.
The site is also designed to certify sites as ready for development with available utilities, zoning, etc. The site hasn't yet been fully populated with available sites, but JobsOhio will ensure that happens over time. Communities will be encouraged to go through the JobsOhio site authentication process to have sites in their communities certified as ready.
The JobsOhio authentication process is designed to identify sites that are "ready to develop on day one, saving businesses time and money." JobsOhio in its announcement described the authentication process as follows:
“Through the SiteOhio authentication process, each site undergoes a usability audit designed to vet sites with companies in mind. All due diligence studies look to ensure strict criteria are met, as well as utilities and other site assets are on site, with excess capacity and accessible for doing business,” JobsOhio said in announcing the tool.
The site doesn't include other information that may be key to determining suitability of a site, such as:
- Ease of permitting
- Capacity of sewers
- Availability of water
Implications for Brownfield Redevelopment
As JobsOhio stated in its announcement regarding the site selection tool, the purpose is to identify sites "ready to go on day one." This certainly would not include brownfield properties. A quick search of industrial properties by acreage shows a number of greenfield sites, typically industrial parks ready for development. A quick search of available buildings identified mostly sites that would not qualify as traditional brownfield properties.
While the tool is an excellent idea to expedite identification of readily available sites for development, the site selection tool will not encourage reuse of urban sites. If the goal is of the site selector tool is to populate sites "ready to go on day one," then in order to encourage redevelopment of brownfield properties this would appear to encourage reconsideration of programs such as the Clean Ohio Redevelopment Ready Program. Under this program, Clean Ohio funds were used to address environmental issues at brownfield sites upfront to facilitate reuse.