Reducing commercial and industrial real estate vacancy rates is a key objective for many economic development organizations. Lowered vacancy rates in a community with plentiful supply mean businesses have chosen to locate there, jobs have been created, and the regional economy is healthy and thriving. Elk Grove Village, IL, located near O'Hare airport and home to one of the busiest industrial parks in the nation, worked hard to slash their vacancy rates by more than 50%, and ZoomProspector Enterprise was a key component in their strategy.
After the economic downturn in 2009 the Village saw industrial vacancy rates reach an all time high of 12.5%. The Village is home to the largest consolidated industrial park in the United States with over 62 million square feet of inventory in six square miles. A vacancy rate of 12.5% translates into approximately 8 million vacant square feet. The vibrancy of the industrial park is critical to Elk Grove Village because the Village derives almost 80% of its revenue from taxes and development fees in the industrial park.
Village leadership recognized this as a major issue and began planning initiatives to remain competitive in an uncertain industrial real estate market. John Grodzin, Elk Grove Village's director of business development and attraction, explains, "The Village has developed a robust retention and attraction program [...], and ZoomProspector Enterprise is integral to the program."
"ZoomProspector Enterprise is our main tool to promote available space in the Village. Providing relevant data gives the Village an edge in marketing", explains Grodzin about their GIS location analysis tool, ElkGroveSites.com, launched in at the end of 2010.
ElkGroveSites.com was set up as a one-stop clearing house of key data, ensuring the Village is open for business 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, whenever site selectors or potential investors are looking for locations. In addition to the ZoomProspector Enterprise GIS application, it features five interactive Intelligence Components (demographics, mapping, business, infographics and community comparison).
The splash page functions as a comprehensive informational website that combines real-time commercial property listings with demographic, consumer spending, labor force, GIS and business data. The site is extremely visual and user-friendly, displaying data through reports, infographics, charts, graphs and interactive maps. Users can export reports, maps and charts , or save them for later use. Properties can be easily uploaded and maintained by commercial brokers, and the data is kept fresh by automatic updates 2 to 4 times annually. The five Intelligence Components on ElkGroveSites.com present critical location data in different easy-to-use formats. A screenshot from the interactive Community Profile Infographic is visible at left. The 5 tools are listed on the tabs at the top of the page, to ensure site selectors or business owners can quickly find what they are seeking. This website also features brief success stories and easy to find contact information and social media links. A simple video tutorial is offered at the top for anyone who would like added direction.
With over 62 million square ft of space to track, the simplicity of the ZoomProspector interface is a key feature," says Grodzin. "It allows for any stakeholder with little real estate knowledge or a lot of experience to easily access the data and build their own market analysis.
ElkGroveSites.com played a central role in their multi-faceted Business Support & Marketing Program, grouped under the “Beyond Business Friendly” campaign. This also included the publication of The Elk Grove Book, a 300 page hard cover coffee table style book, created with the purpose of highlighting the diversity of industries located in Elk Grove Village. The book chronicles the growth of the largest consolidated business park in the United States and profiles the entrepreneurial spirit and the innovation of our local business leaders. Another part of the campaign was the Made in Elk Grove Manufacturing Expo, held in 2013, 2014, and 2015 at various vacant buildings in the industrial park. Exclusive to the manufacturing community, the Expo provided attendees from around the Midwest a unique opportunity to connect, collaborate, and cultivate relationships with Elk Grove-based manufacturing companies. The final piece in the campaign was the implementation of online resource centers for businesses. EGVbizhub.com (for existing businesses) and www.makerswanted.org (for business attraction), are online resources for all things business in Elk Grove. Whether you are a current Elk Grove business, a prospective business looking for a new location, or a real estate professional facilitating the relocation process, these sites offer easy access to relevant, helpful tools and resources.
Grodzin is unequivocal in his assessment, "This multifaceted Business Growth & Marketing campaign has shown dramatic success. The end 2015 industrial vacancy rate of 5.37% represents one of the lowest in the O’Hare Industrial market. This is down from a high of 12.48% in 2010, as you can see in the chart above."