Posted by: Jennifer McEachern
NASHVILLE—The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development announced the next three Select Tennessee Certified Sites. The Select Tennessee program was launched in June 2012 with the goal of helping Tennessee communities prepare available sites for investment and expansion. The program sets a consistent and rigorous standard upon which companies can rely in making critical location decisions. To date, 37 greenfield sites have been certified. The three newest sites are:
• Coffee County Joint Industrial Park Site: Coffee County (843 Joint Park Blvd., Tullahoma)
• Technology Park II at Holston Army Ammunition Plant (HAAP): Hawkins County (4509 West Stone Dr., Kingsport)
• Dresden Pad Ready Site: Weakley County (Swanson Drive, Dresden)
“When a company is looking to locate or expand in Tennessee, they are considering a number of factors, but if our communities don’t have any inventory to offer, they will most likely be eliminated from the search process,” TNECD Commissioner Randy Boyd said. “The Select Tennessee Certified Sites program helps our counties get a product on the shelf, and it’s not just any product. It’s a site that is backed by vigorous vetting and a certification process that lets companies know their project can go from start to finish in a timely fashion with less risk. I congratulate the communities for investing in themselves and securing these newest certified sites.”
The program acknowledges that companies looking to expand or relocate their operations often eliminate less-prepared sites and addresses this issue by ensuring sites meet a specific standard. Among the qualifications needed to become certified, a site must have at least 20 developable acres, proper zoning in place to allow for ease of development, all utilities at the site or a formal plan to extend to the site, and truck-quality road access.
A hallmark of the program is ensuring that Tennessee sites are ready for development, whether through marketing those ready for a prospect or providing guidance for uncertified sites to achieve a higher level of preparedness.
“We look at this program as a way of introducing a competitive advantage when it comes to economic development, especially for our rural communities,” TNECD Assistant Commissioner of Rural Development, Amy New, said. “Communities who invest in themselves with these certified sites will be more likely to attract new businesses and jobs.”
“Tennessee’s site certification process is unique, because it’s not just a rubber stamp. Our communities go through a vigorous process to get to this point,” TNECD Site Development Director Leanne Cox said. “Companies interested in locating or expanding on one of these sites can feel confident that a lot of work has already been done on the front end by a group of committed leaders backed by a community that is serious about attracting new investment.”
TNECD has partnered with Austin Consulting to administer the program.
“Select Tennessee Site Certification requires each site to undergo a comprehensive due diligence and documentation process,” Austin Consulting Location Consultant Brandon Talbert said. “It’s more than a checklist. We’re looking for potential development obstacles. Not every site is capable of achieving the designation, but the sites that do are in a stronger position to attract the interest of prospective companies.”
There are now 37 Select Tennessee Certified Sites available in 25 different counties across the state. Communities interested in participating in the program must begin the formal application process by sending in their letter of intent. The letter of intent can be sent in by email to [email protected] at any time. An example of the letter of intent and more information about the program can be found at http://tnecd.com/apply.html.
About the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development
Tennessee was named 2014 and 2013 “State of the Year” for economic development by Business Facilities magazine. The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development’s mission is to develop strategies which help make Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs. The department seeks to attract new corporate investment in Tennessee and works with Tennessee companies to facilitate expansion and economic growth. Find us on the web: tnecd.com. Follow us on Twitter: @tnecd. Like us on Facebook: facebook.com/tnecd.