• Free for qualified executives and consultants to industry

  • Receive quarterly issues of Area Development Magazine and special market report and directory issues


Consultants Survey Reflects Shift in Ranking of Site Selection Factors

A responsive state and local government, incentives offerings, and site readiness now outweigh costs in the location decision.

Q1 2024
What immediately jumped out after reading the Consultants’ rankings is that having a “responsive state and local government” is becoming increasingly critical to the site selection process. This year, "responsiveness" is in a three-way tie for second. We have encountered challenges with responsiveness as well during the past year. As the high importance ranking shows, this has widely been a frustrating issue for site consultants that can ultimately impact the deal. That said, there are fantastic economic developers that we work projects with and who are immediately responsive. Unfortunately, some organizations have too few project managers who are tasked to work too many projects.

Companies continue to look to state, local, and federal incentive opportunities to help meet internal investment return hurdles needed to justify the deployment of capital for projects. It is understandable why “state and local incentives” is tied for second place.

In the final tied second place ranking, it is not surprising that “available land” rose in importance in the rankings. States have known for several years that site and land scarcity was becoming more of an issue and have created numerous site-readiness programs throughout the U.S. to start to address the problem.

It is also noteworthy that “labor costs” and “construction costs” significantly dropped in the rankings with site consultants considering them less important than in previous years. We would attribute the labor costs ranking drop to companies realizing that, in this environment, it is very challenging to attract and retain a skilled workforce by paying below market wages and, therefore, companies have already adjusted. Our clients have experienced skyrocketing construction costs in 2023 — including for construction labor — causing delays, while companies look for ways to reconstitute projects to take costs out, effectively building — in some cases — what is needed in the near-term as opposed to building for future growth.

Exclusive Research