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New Tool to Assist Counties, Improve Inventory of Industrial Sites

NASHVILLE - The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development announced today it has launched the Select Tennessee Property Evaluation Program (PEP). The goal of this new tool is to improve the inventory of industrial sites and buildings in Tennessee by evaluating potential properties and advising counties on where investment may be most beneficial and what steps may be needed to address issues.

"We think of available and developable sites as product on a shelf, and through PEP, we are doubling down our efforts to keep these shelves well-stocked," Commissioner Randy Boyd said. "If there is no product available to sell, businesses aren't going to grow and locate here. PEP will help us make sure our counties have product and are better prepared for economic growth."

Based on the principals of the department's Select Tennessee Site Certification Program and with the assistance of site selection firm Austin Consulting, PEP will benefit counties through emphasizing the importance of and assisting with planning for the future. This includes both readying industrial properties for near-term development as well as creating a pipeline of properties for future development.

"Prepared and available properties are essential for a county to be competitive for industrial recruitment," TNECD Site Development Director Leanne Cox said. "PEP will provide counties with a comprehensive assessment and professional advice to help evaluate properties under consideration for development."

"The Property Evaluation Program allows communities to take a fresh look at their current and potential industrial sites," Austin Consulting Senior Location Consultant Jonathan Gemmen said. "The process provides unbiased feedback on which sites can most quickly be readied to accommodate new industrial investment, as well as which sites offer inherent advantages for industry. Most important, it sets the table for community leaders to develop and implement an industrial real estate strategy for the next decade or longer."

A limited number of counties will be selected each round to participate for free through a competitive application process. Selection will be based on the ability to demonstrate local need and market demand for industrial properties and also on the county's ability to assemble viable properties with market potential.

For counties selected to participate, the program includes: an educational webinar on the site selection process and PEP; a review and on-site visit by Austin Consulting; and a comprehensive assessment addressing each property's strengths, weaknesses and recommended next steps to improve marketability.

The application process begins with the submission of the Letter of Interest, available here. Upon receipt of the letter, counties will be provided with the application. Completed applications must be received by August 7 to be considered for the fall 2015 round. Applications received after this date will be considered for the spring 2016 round.

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.

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