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Demystifying Economic Development's relationship with Commercial Property

Which comes first, jobs or space? Most people think economic development is foremost about jobs—but employers need space before they can offer jobs. This chicken-and-egg dynamic has many communities re-examining the relationship between economic development and commercial property.

Here are three powerful reasons for economic development pros to make commercial real estate a bigger priority:

1. Site selectors need sites to select.

Are you providing a way for site selectors in your community to find available sites?

Site selectors decide where growing businesses will locate their new facilities. They dictate which communities will add jobs—and which won’t. And studies show that 91% of site selectors rate property information and inventories as the most important content on an economic development website. (We’re not sure what the other 9% look for.)

Think about that. With all the data available—demographics, tax structures, business environment, labor statistics and more—nine out of ten site selectors want to see properties first.

Doesn’t it make sense, then, to highlight your community’s commercial availabilities in all your marketing?Shouldn’t you make space the star?

You should. And (blatant self-promotion alert) you should do it with a BrokerSavant Property Index—the easiest, most cost-effective way to feature commercial property listings on your website.


2. Space creates strong branding potential.

Branding isn’t just for detergent and dog food anymore—it’s become the hottest buzzword in marketing. Why? Because with the overload of information everyone faces these days, you need to differentiate your community—or risk disappearing completely.

So how do you brand your community? Well, what do you have that no other community in your region has?

  • A 200-acre tract right off the Interstate?
  • An office park with a view to the river?
  • A brand-new strip mall across from the multiplex?
  • A thriving coworking center that attracts entrepreneurs?

You get the idea. Your community’s unique location and structures make your commercial availabilities unique, too—so featuring them in your marketing sets you apart from other communities. That’s Branding 101.

Because when you promote sites no one else has, you’ll attract site selectors no one else can.


3. Commercial Brokers make ideal allies.

Okay, you understand the importance of commercial space to economic development. But how are you supposed to know your community’s availabilities well enough to integrate them with your marketing plans?

You’re not. Good thing your community is full of people who know available space inside and out—commercial real estate brokers.

Teaming up with your community’s brokers creates some powerful micro-macro synergies. They know all the details and selling points of their property listings, and you know all the big-picture considerations that affect the whole community. You probably both know the owners and developers who can transform properties into more marketable commodities.Together you can work to exploit commercial availabilities for maximum marketing impact.

Your priorities dovetail perfectly with commercial brokers’ priorities. They want to sell or lease properties; you want to get those listings as much exposure as possible. You want to bring new businesses to your community; brokers want to find buyers or tenants for their properties.

In business school they call that a win-win.

Reach out to the brokers in your community. Make sure you understand their needs and they understand yours. Encourage them to upload their listings to your BrokerSavant Property Indexwhich, seamlessly integrated with your website, promotes your community’s brand while giving their listings unprecedented exposure.


So, do jobs create demand for space, or does space attract jobs? When you partner up with brokers to create synergy between economic development and commercial property, the answer is: Both.

This blog post originally appeared on the BrokerSavant Blog - 'Where Commercial Real Estate Meets Economic Growth'. How has the dynamic between economic development and commercial property evolved in your community? Let us know!

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