Bay County is for sale and one agency is using a high-tech tool to attract prospects.
The mission of the Bay Economic Development Alliance (BEDA) is to create jobs and that means convincing companies to expand or relocate to Northwest Florida. According to Neal Wade, Executive Director, companies are looking for several things: an educated workforce, economic incentives and a site that meets their needs.
Heavy industrial plants, big box retail stores and call centers are just a few of the properties listed on the BEDA website. "Having a good inventory is great and ten years ago we didn't have that," said Wade. "Right now we have all types of available buildings and sites."
The agency has catalogued more than three dozen available properties on its website. Visitors to the site can click on a "push pin" and view details such as photos, maps and square footage.
Wade said Bay is one of just a few Florida counties with an online listing of properties and several site consultants have called to schedule visits to the area. "They go on our website and they decide to look here because they saw a site," said Wade.
The BEDA finds sites on its own but has also reached out to the real estate community for referrals. Properties get considered based on the specific requirements of each prospect, such as acreage and access to rail service or a four-lane highway. "That helps prioritize projects based on each individual site," said Wade.
The economic development sales cycle can last months or even years and the BEDA is counting on its property database to provide an advantage over other communities. "Just get me in the competition, then we'll try to win it," said Wade. "This is a way to get us in the competition."
Wade said he appreciates having so many available properties, but his ultimate goal is to match them with companies and whittle the list down to zero.
Click here to view the current list of available properties.