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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.

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