New year, new focus on commercial land for development
The Chamber’s economic development arm, the Springfield Business Development Corporation – along with our community partners – are all focused on making the Springfield region a desirable place for existing businesses to expand and for new businesses to locate.
One of the ways the SBDC helps in that process is by working leads – potential job creation projects with companies looking for a place to add jobs. The number of leads has increased in the last few years, and our goal is always to take those leads from “potential” project to “actual” project.
As Senior VP of Economic Development Ryan Mooney recently noted in the Springfield Business Journal, there are two key factors to whether we can bring a potential new business to our area for a visit.
The first, as it has been for several years, is available workforce. That’s a challenge across the country, and our area is no exception. But the other increasingly critical factor for success is having the right buildings and land available for development.
The demand is incredibly high for these properties. Vacancy rates for commercial property in Greene and Christian counties hover around 3 percent, and recently completed speculative buildings have been claimed before they’re even ready for tenants.
The Chamber and SBDC are focused on this area of need. Part of our response has been to create a position to focus on developing more real estate assets in our region. Recently, we’ve hired Alex Woodson as our new economic development project coordinator.
“Alex will be working with partners to develop more real estate assets that meet the needs of our attraction and expansion projects and leads,” Mooney said. “A large industrial building is an incredible draw right now – and our experience has been if we can get a company here to see an available building or site, it’s much more likely the Springfield region will win the project.”
Woodson also will focus on helping ensure that development processes around the region are effective and customer-focused – because having more sites that are fully ready for development will spur growth, both now and in the future.