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Corporate real estate executives and consultants rank their project priorities for 2022

Each year Area Development surveys corporate end users and site selection consultants to identify current and future trends in economic development. This year marked the 36th annual corporate survey and 18th annual consultants survey. These surveys help economic developers understand shifts in criteria end users find important when deciding on site locations.

36th annual corporate survey findings

Corporate respondents included manufacturing firms and distribution/warehousing/logistic entities. Nearly 60% of respondents were in the C-suite. As a result of the tight labor market, supply chain issues and rising costs, only 23% of respondents planned to open a new facility in the next two years.

Of the executives who planned to open a new facility, roughly 35% said they will house manufacturing operations and 25% said they will house warehousing and distribution operations. Where these corporate users decided to locate their facilities depended heavily on labor.

Labor cost ranked as the number one most significant criteria this year in the survey followed by skilled labor. With a focused effort on renewable energy and rising energy costs, energy availability and costs ranked number three.

Somewhat surprisingly, taxes, state and local taxes, regulation and tax exemptions ranked lower in the top 10 behind shipping costs, highway accessibility and raw material availability. These corporate responses show site selection has shifted due to a tight labor market, supply chain challenges and rising costs.

For more information, read the full report: 36th Annual Corporate Survey: Executives Focus on Labor, Energy, Shipping Costs – Area Development.

18th annual consultant survey findings

Corporate consultants surveyed for the most part agreed with corporate end users on the indicators most affecting their decisions about where to locate facilities. Consultants said 96% of clients were looking to locate a new facility in the next two years.

Consultants were asked to rank 28 site selection factors. The number one most significant factor with 98.3% was proximity to major markets. This result is not surprising as the number two ranked criteria was the availability of skilled labor. However, not all consultant responses were in line with corporate users.

Consultants ranked highway accessibility third (corporate users ranked this fifth). Land availability, proximity to supplier, and state and local incentives were all tied for fourth. These differences are important to note as consultants often drive the discussion with their clients about why one geographic location might be better than another. It is also important to note that many consultants structure their fees based on state and local incentives offered to a project, which likely factors into consultants ranking incentives higher compared to corporate users.

For more information, read the full report: 18th Annual Consultants Survey: Access to Major Markets and Skilled Labor Are Clients’ Primary Concerns – Area Development.

Much like in past years, workforce, supply chain, speed to market and cost continue to drive the decision-making process. Keep these findings in mind as you talk with consultants and corporate executives to recruit and retain projects in your communities. Know what they care and want to hear about to help mold your message and ensure you put your community in the best position.

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