Branstad announces six new ‘development ready’ sites

Branstad 1From Press Release


Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds today announced that six communities are in the second round of sites to achieve certification through the Iowa Economic Development Authority certified site program. These six sites are located in the communities of Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Norwalk, Marion, Mason City and Perry.

In an effort to address the lack of project-ready industrial sites in the state, the IEDA rolled out the Iowa Certified Site Program in May 2012. The Iowa Certified Site Program is designed to consider a combination of national site location standards as well as Iowa’s natural assets and industry needs of the state’s targeted sectors. This is an independent, third-party certification program that uses the nationally recognized site selection firm of McCallum Sweeney Consulting as the sole certifying agent. The program’s first certifications were announced last April for sites in Dexter, Fort Dodge, Iowa Falls and Van Meter.

“Creating jobs and increasing family incomes for Iowans is my administration’s top priority,” Branstad said. “With the announcement that six additional Iowa sites have gone through a rigorous certification process to be considered ‘development-ready,’ we are moving Iowa to the top of the list for projects that are looking for a home. Those projects mean more Iowa jobs.”

“A lot of credit goes to the communities of Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Norwalk, Marion, Mason City and Perry,” Reynolds added. “The investment to achieve site certification isn’t a small one, but it is sure to pay dividends both locally and for our state as a whole.”

Site certification is one of the fastest growing trends in the site selection business, and by introducing certified sites to the market Iowa is better able to compete for large-scale projects.  By going through this rigorous process, developers — working closely with their local officials, utility partners and consultants — are better prepared to market their sites with specific site-related information and community data.  All site due diligence is completed and resulting issues are mitigated, making the site “risk-free” and thus accelerating the development schedule.

“Iowa is improving its competitive position in the world of site selection by certifying six additional industrial sites,” IEDA director Debi Durham said. “Iowa’s Certified Sites Program now boasts 10 sites, with even more in the queue. This shows the world that Iowa is open for business.”

The six sites certified today began the process in 2013. After working through the rigorous certification process, these six sites have met the standards of the Iowa Certified Site Program and have now achieved that designation. 


New Green Certification Initiative

Officials also announced the launch of a Green Certification classification as part of the Iowa Certified Site Program. This program recognizes the growing demand for environmentally sensitive design for companies that are committed to reducing the environmental impact of development.

The Green Certification program is being launched with a pilot round focused on the Green Office Park category. The criteria is designed for multiple office users and ancillary park activities. Similar to the rigorous standards of the existing industrial certification program, stringent due diligence requirements must be met in order to achieve certification.

However, the green certification program will also include recognition of and requirements to protect what might have traditionally been viewed as impediments to development, such as floodplains and wetlands. A focal point of the Green Certification program is the requirement to develop and adopt covenants that will guide the future development of the Green Business Park.

The Woodward Eco Business Park will serve as the pilot site for the new Green Certification program, with applications for subsequent parks to be accepted in July 2016.