New Build-Ready Program making more sites ready-to-go
By Trisha Ostrowski
To attract highly competitive projects, the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development has launched the new Build-Ready certification program for sites across the Bluegrass State.
With a Build-Ready site, much of the work—other than actual construction—has already been completed. That includes having community agreements in place for the land to be sold at an agreed-upon price, preparing a building pad (prepared ground/soil/environmental studies), conducting preliminary design work including project costs and construction timeframes, obtaining approved site plan permits, and having necessary utility and transportation infrastructure in place.
"The Build-Ready program is a win-win for communities and companies," said Gov. Steve Beshear. "Build-Ready is intended to give communities an advantage in attracting new businesses. With Build-Ready, all the obstacles have been removed and the red tape has been cut so businesses can start construction right away, drastically shortening the time it takes to be operational."
"In short, a Build-Ready site is one where the preparation work has been completed and construction can begin almost immediately. Many states have site certification programs, but we have taken it a step further by requiring the groundwork to be completed including a building pad and a set of plans that can be used for construction," echoed Will McDowell, industrial development manager for the Cabinet who oversees the program. "Site selectors can have confidence that Build-Ready sites are premier sites. There will be no red tape or hurdles to clear."
McDowell noted that, in part, the Build-Ready program was created because Kentucky recognized its need for more industrial space, particularly in rural areas. "We saw that the state overall didn't have a lot of industrial space compared with our bordering states. This was especially true in our rural areas," McDowell said. "We want the whole state to be considered for new projects, not just parts of it. While some communities don't have the resources to build a spec building, this program gives all of our communities a more affordable, flexible and achievable way to offer ready-to-go sites."
So far, just months into the program, three Build-Ready sites have been announced and McDowell says he believes two to three more will be announced by spring 2015.
The first industrial site to be officially certified Build-Ready was a 52-acre site located within the 4-Star Industrial Park off Interstate 69. The park, which is jointly owned by Henderson, McLean, Union and Webster counties, is served by an adjacent power plant, as well as water and sewer plants.
A few months after the first site was announced, two additional sites received the Build-Ready designation in December 2014. Both of those sites are in the Kentucky Transpark located in Bowling Green. One site features a pad ready to accept a 108,000 square-foot building on 22 acres, with expansion pre-approved to 216,000 square feet, and up to 432,000 square feet with an additional Detailed Development Plan filing. A second site has 11 acres and is prepared for a 60,350 square-foot building with pre-approved expansion to 120,700 square feet. Electric, water, sewer and gas are already routed to the property lines and fiber optic is available as well. The Kentucky Transpark offers tenants access to top-tier rail service and it's in close proximity to I-65 and the Owensboro Riverport.
"Any company that visits these sites knows that it will be able to begin construction almost immediately, drastically shortening the time it takes to be operational," said Lt. Gov. Crit Luallen. "This is a major selling point, and we expect the Build-Ready designations to generate even more economic interest in Kentucky."
What companies will find in a Build-Ready site:
Site prep * Site ownership clear of any encumbrances. * Plat showing building setbacks, easements and topography. * Industrial or mixed zoning. * Building pad allowing for construction of at least 50,000 square feet, site graded to include building. * Aerial imagery. * Phase 1 and Geotechnical Studies, Archeological and Historical site assessments. * Stream and Wetland mitigation. * Site plan approved by local government. * All permits and approvals.
Infrastructure * Road access with AA rated truck route, documentation of road extension plan. * Three-phase power adequate to support industrial/commercial usage. * Water and sewer lines and gas line capable of serving industrial users. * Telecommunications with T-1 or greater service.
Building plans * Detailed architectural plans for interior and exterior of building, cost estimates, construction timeline. * Construction plan, cost and schedule projections, building rendering.
Learn more about Build-Ready