By Audrey Spencer
The Cove Herald
"Shovel-ready" is a term that has recently come into vogue with business development organizations.
It also is the base idea for the business park expansion project that should start in Copperas Cove during 2012.
"It means someone can come in and see a piece of property and know it's ready to go and be used," said Polo Enriquez, executive director for Copperas Cove's Economic Development Corporation. "Streets, sidewalks, water, electricity, communication systems are already there, waiting to be used by the purchaser of the property."
The project will work on property located off of Constitution Drive and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.
The plan is for the corporation to sell just over six acres to the Copperas Cove Industrial Foundation, "a private group interested in economic development in the city," said Enriquez.
Added to the foundation's other 17 acres, the additional land will provide enough space for a horseshoe shape road through the property.
"The development is done by the Industrial Foundation. They own it; we will simply market it for them," said Enriquez. "They're going to pay (the corporation) for (the land), and we will ask the City Council to allow us money to spend to move the project further."
The money the EDC will request from the city will be to advertise the property, as the initialization of the project comes after an increase in business inquires to the corporation during the last 18 months, said Monica Hull, director of business development at the corporation.
"It's a good time to start this project," she said. "That property, being across from the Shops of Five Hills and located near the most traveled roadway in Copperas Cove, makes it extremely attractive to businesses."
Currently, the land sits undeveloped, but work by the Industrial Foundation and EDC "is intended to enhance the marketability and availability" of it said Hull.
"It's not exactly an 'if you build it they will come,' thing, but it does make the property a lot more attractive to businesses that desire to relocate in Copperas Cove."
Working with the "shovel-ready" mindset is a response to greater impatience with establishing, expanding and relocating businesses.
"Developers don't want to wait any longer. Time is too large an investment," said Enriquez. "They want to start as soon as possible. We have these shovel-ready sites that they can look at and
envision a building. This promotes our ability to attract businesses here."
Making the land ready to be built on, but not officially divided into lots, allows prospective businesses flexibility in how much land they want to purchase and develop, be it one, three or five acres, or anywhere in between.
"We receive inquires from the state, our contractor and directly through our website about people wanting to build buildings on one or three-acre sites," said Enriquez. "The intent is to create this development that would lend itself to be able to answer in a positive way that we have sites of this kind."
The impact, once the business park is expanded and in use, will be a good one to the city's economic well-being.
"It will create jobs and wages to go with it," said Enriquez of the construction and opening of new businesses. "All these things are an economic boost for us."
Contact Audrey Spencer at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7476.