If You Build It, Will They Come?

July 7, 2020

Data-driven planning can bolster successful outcomes

The future of your organization depends on ventures that provide growth and prosperity. But making sure that a project has a positive outcome requires much more than simply having the space needed to build. Developers and communities must think through key considerations to ensure that their projects are both successful and sustainable.

Without data, it’s just a hunch

Favorable results depend on the synergy of moving parts. Is your team prepared to address specific information related to your goals?

Economic development organizations:  You want to attract industry to your area, but do you have the specific information that will appeal to corporations seeking a new location?

  • What are the attributes of the local labor force?
  • Will your community, the available labor pool, and educational resources support this type of business?
  • Are the utilities robust enough to accommodate potential growth?
  • Does the school system have the capacity for increased enrollment?
  • Is the transportation infrastructure able to support additional commuters, truck traffic, or other unique needs that certain industries require?

We help you articulate your community’s strengths to attract targeted industries.

Businesses seeking a new location:  You want a location that offers the most possible advantages, but do you have numbers to back up your choice?

  • What is the demand outlook for your business in the market?
  • Do you need access to raw materials? Proximity to market?
  • What are your costs of operation?
  • Who are your competitors in terms of products, services, or talent attraction?
  • Tax incentives can help your bottom line, but have you considered other factors, such as the receptivity of the community?
  • What does the local labor pool offer in terms of potential employees’ skills, costs, and training resources?

We analyze a range of variables that impact business and help you understand the tools available to offset costs of development and operations.

Real estate developers seeking Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC):  You’re looking for the highest return on your investment while balancing the community’s need for affordable housing, but do you have reliable information on the various factors that impact your return and support the area development needs?

  • What are the current rent and occupancy levels for competitive projects in the area?
  • Are there enough income-eligible renter households to support development?
  • Is the proposed unit mix appropriate for the area’s distribution of household sizes?
  • What other tax incentives are available to close the feasibility “gap”?

We provide detailed third-party studies that comply with your state’s housing guidelines while assuring you that the project has a solid foundation with a positive outlook.

Success depends on more than availability

Talking to others can provide anecdotal information, but unless you have data to back it up, it’s only a guess. Conversely, a study from MarksNelson gives your organization solid ground to work from. A study ensures that your group has performed the necessary due diligence in order to make way for the best possible outcome. We protect your investment dollars with valuable research. Take a look at the benefits of our offerings:

  • A Labor Market Analysis helps you determine the future viability of potential locations based on the availability and growth of the local workforce. Most companies spend roughly 70% of their total expenditures on personnel – more than any other expense. Whether it’s a need to attract key talent, recognize trends, or retain existing employees, the labor market can’t be overlooked.

  • LIHTC Market Demand Studies provide a deep understanding of factors that affect your industry and can fulfill requirements for LIHTC projects. We help you identify supply and demand relationships, comparable projects, timing considerations, and more. We help you navigate all development stages, from preliminary site selection all the way through to ongoing support.

  • An Industrial Site Analysis helps your community identify key areas that should be targeted for industrial development. Industrial projects, whether they're in manufacturing, warehouse and distribution, or food production have very specific utility, transportation, and environmental needs. Only a handful of sites in any community can accommodate these projects, and without proper planning, many of these areas become sites for home development and strip malls. While these types of developments are valuable for a community, they are not the highest and best use of scarce industry-ready land. A targeted study can help identify these areas within your community and will help align land use and infrastructure planning to better support industrial development.

Custom analysis and support

A study from MarksNelson doesn’t come in just one size. We get to know you and your organization or community. We work with you closely to provide scientific information that will protect your investment and deliver the desired outcomes. Just because the location is available doesn’t mean the rest of the infrastructure is in place to ensure success. After all, if you build it… you want them to come.


Steve has been working with economic development organizations for more than 30 years. After spending his early years working directly for community organizations, he recognized the opportunity to support multiple communities by identifying the needs and solutions that spread across municipalities. At that point, he... >>> READ MORE


Tim Anderson is a key member of the real estate practice area at MarksNelson, leading the real estate valuation and commercial property tax appeal specialty groups. He partners with clients to secure credits and incentives, provide economic development guidance, and advise on state and local tax... >>> READ MORE

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