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Greenfield assists companies through the process of choosing new locations or expanding existing ones. Although we have worked on projects of all sizes, we specialize in smaller, privately-owned companies where we work with top management who might be looking for their first new location. As a result they are not familiar with the process and need early assistance to help translate the project’s business drivers into site selection criteria. We understand that site selection is a balance between rigorous data collection / analysis combined with matching the corporate culture to a community’s personality.
Our many years and wide geography of experience give us a network of contacts inside the economic development network that makes the site selection decision process more efficient and comprehensive. We can provide advice and perform tasks through the entire process, or assist with any of the specific tasks. We can also provide services after the location decision that help the company implement the project, and continue to follow up with reporting requirements for several years.
Greenfield has sophisticated in-house GIS tools to assist in the real estate search, and we have comparative financial and other data analysis tools to fit any situation. We have worked on projects all over the US, from WA to AZ to FL to OH and points in between, including over 35 states.
Below are some examples of Greenfield’s approach to the Strategy, Art and Science of Site Selection:
Issue: Chris-Craft Boats and Indian Motorcycle were owned by the same foreign investment group, with both companies looking for new locations. The two companies had very different site selection criteria, but the owner wanted the locations to be in close proximity to each other for efficient trips from Europe.
Recommendations: We helped create the lists of site selection criteria for both companies and then focused on the few criteria that overlapped, or were similar. We started with locations that were within a certain distance to international airports, and workforce skills that were related. These and other overlapping criteria allowed us to quickly narrow to a fairly small geography that made the separate searches more efficient.
Issue: MBM Corporation, a major national food wholesaler and distribution company, separated one of its customer’s business into a separate warehouse in the Columbus, OH metro area. Greenfield helped MBM with this expansion project, including negotiations with the State and community for investment and employment incentives at the new location. After the first year of operation, it was clear that although the company had correctly predicted the increased employment in its business, in fact it was even higher, the location of those jobs was altered from the incentive agreement and would continue to be different during the timeframe of the agreement.
Recommendation: Greenfield was able to re-negotiate the original OH incentive agreement to include both the old and new locations, and reflect the higher “new and retained” employment at the combined facilities. The project and re-negotiations were complicated by turnover in the corporate staff responsible for real estate at MBM, several times over the term of the agreement. In addition, although MBM is operated as an independent company, it was purchased by McLane Corp, a Berkshire Hathaway company, also during the agreement period, further complicating the re-negotiations. During this period of instability, Greenfield remained the constant face to the State of OH. We were able to successfully re-negotiate, maintain the agreement and its reporting requirements in good standing, thereby providing over $200,000 of revenue/tax savings to the company.
Issue: Local Motors was a new startup car production company when we were introduced to them in 2006. The site for their first production facility needed to match not only their first niche product, but also support the company’s paradigm shift to a co-creation process.
Recommendations: We liked the Local Motors concept so much that we offered our services in return for an equity position in the company. Consequently, as part owners, we were able to have more than the normal influence on creating the location criteria for the project. We used that influence to guide them through the many “free” incentive offers that seemed helpful to a cash-strapped startup. Instead, our experience and analytical tools gave them the comfort they needed to make the decision that met the long term needs of the operation. This company has been featured on CNBC, Popular Mechanics, Fortune, Forbes and a whole host of other auto-related media. Production of the Rally Fighter, an off-road racing vehicle, began in their first operating facility in Chandler, AZ in July of 2010. Since that startup, the company has used its open-source platform, micro-factory concept and additive manufacturing processes to partner with such industry giants as BMW, Siemens, GE, IBM and Airbus to co-create other products in other micro-factory locations.