© 2019 Greenfield. All rights reserved
Greenfield has extensive experience in working with communities to identify and evaluate industrial and other commercial sites. Whether it is for a new industrial park, or specific use single site, or highest and best use for a brownfield site, or strategies for enhancing the physical functionality or reuse (and therefore marketability) of an existing building, we have analyzed it. We can also assist a community in a product development plan by prioritizing product needs, diversification strategies and supporting implementation efforts. We also provide project management services for site certification programs.
We have a particular expertise in assessing brownfield sites. Once an environmental engineer has completed their assessment, we can examine the site and its location and provide ideas for redevelopment opportunities. The strategies for re-development of brownfield sites are often more complicated than for choosing the best location for a greenfield industrial site. For redevelopment sites it is just as important to set the expectation of what is not likely, as it is to come up with creative ideas for what might actually locate on the site.
Greenfield’s experience working with buyers of industrial properties, our knowledge of their site selection criteria and especially decision-making related to risk issues is crucial context for our product development/redevelopment evaluation and recommendations.
As described below, Greenfield has also created a GIS-based mapping tool that is very effective in helping us identify and evaluate many choices for product development in a broad or small geography.
Below are some examples of Greenfield’s approach to the Strategy, Art and Science of Product Development and Redevelopment:
Issue: What to do with Alcoa’s 1917 former aluminum smelter site that will re-create the most high wage jobs and highest tax base? Should we target reuse opportunities that have higher demand, or hold out for the types that most match the unique infrastructure?
Recommendations: This site has extremely unique and specific electrical capacity assets, as well as other heavy infrastructure assets for many types of businesses. We analyzed more than 30 different business sectors that use those assets and prioritized the best uses, based on Alcoa’s goals for redevelopment. We then created a narrowly targeted marketing program to specific companies and site consultants in the highest priority sectors. Our implementation of this plan resulted in 27 site visits in 3 years by prospects and 1 company location to date.
Issue: Transylvania County is located in the NC mountains and they needed product to sell—first, land to develop an industrial park. The county has limited water/sewer infrastructure and most of the generally flat land, although it is along the major highways, it is also along the major river in wetlands.
Recommendation: A former paper mill in the county was the only site that had all the site selection criteria in place for a large industrial park, without very costly infrastructure extensions. However, the site is currently owned by a major national real estate development company. That owner spent substantial time and money to demolish the site structures, clean up the site to residential standards, and obtain approvals for a major mixed use and residential development. We recommended an unusual idea. Since construction had not begun on that development, we suggested that the County negotiate a land trade with the owner—perhaps a more pleasing residential mountainside site with better views in return for the former industrial property closer to town.
Issue: The NC Railroad recognized the lack of available industrial sites along all of NC’s tracks, and wanted to become more proactive in encouraging their development. They hired Greenfield to identify and evaluate every possible industrial site, along every mile of track, in the entire State of NC—in six months.
Recommendation: In order to accomplish such a major task within the required timeframe, Greenfield, along with partner Benchmark Planning, created a new, statewide GIS mapping tool with data layers that represent all the visual issues that define industrial site criteria. We used the tool to identify approximately 3,000 sites in 88 counties, within almost 7,000 square miles along each mile of track in NC. We then used the GIS tool to query the database of sites for the “best” shortlist of sites based on several different sets of criteria. We then evaluated and ranked a “best” shortlist of 16 sites, statewide, that are targeted for further development. The NCRR is also using the tool and its query capabilities to work with each of the rail providers in NC, to encourage them to further develop the “best” sites along each of their lines.