Fault Lines and Runways
When faced with an operational or a real estate footprint change, the priorities of decision makers are as varied as the rainbow. Most project location decisions begin with certain requirements such as:
- proximity to a supplier or customer,
- available workforce and estimated labor costs, and
- distance to a port, or railway, or interstate.
But once those core requirements are fulfilled, the determining factors for a site selection decision tend to become unique to the company and the project at hand. Many will go beyond the traditional scope of a real estate transaction. Sometimes the process of refining those determining factors, and their corresponding weights, is a project within itself.
Our most unique/unusual site factors include:
1) Weather – Needing clear weather, a company placed a required low threshold of:
a. days with >0.25 inches of rain and
b. days with >0.5 inches of snow. (Kicked a lot of northern locations out of contention.)
2) Accents – To ensure clear communications, an in-bound call center required a location where the accents of potential employees would be minimal so that the customer could more easily understand the employee and have a better customer service experience.
3) Airport Runaway Length – Project particulars necessitated an airport with a runway of at least 8,000 linear feet. (Many regional airport runways are only 6,000 feet long.)
4) Tectonic Plates – While this requirement is increasingly common for data centers, it’s always fun to go/no-go locations based on whether a location is within 100 miles of a fault line.
5) Culinary Habits – Due to the need for excellent fine motor skills and refined hand dexterity, a project placed a focus on a workforce with high density of certain ethnicities based on the traditional utensils used.
6) PETA activities – To reduce possible negative encounters, one project required the activity levels of local PETA chapters for similar projects.
Nothing is off limits when it comes to site selection criteria; so when thinking of a future expansion, think of what will enhance your project to be the optimal location for your business.