Property Biz Canada
Website to locate commercial property a possible game changer new
Property Biz Canada
Thu Jan 17 2013
Edmonton, commonly known as the City of Champions, can now also boast of its uniqueness.
The Alberta capital is the first city in the nation to launch an Industrial Land Site Locator website (www.EdmontonIndustrialLand.ca), designed to aid businesses in starting up, expanding or relocating to Edmonton.
The free website, utilizing San Francisco-based GIS Planning Inc.'s Geographic Information System software, provides immediate access to real estate, demographic and industry data, and displays available commercial properties on an interactive heat map.
“We are pleased to offer this tool to assist developers, investors and realtors to find the right location for industrial development investment opportunities,” said Rick Sloan, senior policy adviser of sustainable development for the City of Edmonton.
“This tool is part of our efforts to market Edmonton as a destination for industrial development and investment. It’s like a clearing house where investors can look for land.”
Users can quickly find suitable development sites
Business owners and site selectors can instantly access available properties and demographic data through the website, enabling users to:
• Search for available industrial land for sale and lease using specific criteria and to display properties on an interactive map depicting points of interest, demographic information and more;
• Explore existing businesses in the City of Edmonton by general and specific industry classifications, and by size and performance.
• Find locations in Edmonton that match specific demographic, labour force, transportation and geographic profiles.
• Save property, demographic, community and business reports.
“Since nearly all initial site selection screening is conducted online, the City of Edmonton’s new system will help businesses instantly gather information they need to make investment decisions,” said Anatalio Ubalde, CEO of GIS Planning.
“We’ve taken a complex, burdensome process that used to require weeks of research and reduced it to minutes at www.EdmontonIndustrialLand.ca.”
“The city’s role is to facilitate the development of the website by bringing the realtors and developers together and offering them a platform to market their properties,” Sloan adds.
Alberta's booming economy helped push project
Although in the planning stages for a while, the robust Alberta economy helped spur the website to completion.
“We were targeting a tool for people in industrial development,” says John Pater, City of Edmonton senior communications adviser. “We are trying to be innovative and we’re mostly trying to make sure we’re providing a way to help people find their way around the planning process and development opportunities.
“The economy of Alberta as a whole is really healthy so it puts a little more pressure on us to say we’ve got to make sure we have the proper tools to help people find (land) quickly and easily.”
GIS Planning, a world leader in online economic development solutions, had already established 200-plus similar applications south of the border when Edmonton came calling.
”Edmonton found us. The core of our business is state-side, but the technology is obviously transferable into Canada,” says Russell Riblett, GIS Planning director of sales. “They’re on the leading edge in Canada in terms of the technology.”
While the website concentrates solely on land for development at present, the technology would allow for the sale of buildings in future if Edmonton decides to go that route, Riblett advises.
Website a win-win situation for development
According to Sloan, the website has already proved a win-win situation for all concerned.
“It filled a need and provided an easy-to-use new marketing channel," Sloan says. “All of the major industrial realty firms participate on the website.
“It’s low-cost for the city because we are paying the fees to host the site and the realtors are doing the work of listing and delisting their properties. It’s worked out well.”
Darryl McGavigan, senior associate in industrial/brokerage at Colliers International in Edmonton is among the website’s early fans.
“I think it’s going to be great,” McGavigan says. “It’s still in the early stages for us, but once it gets into your consciousness, I think it’ll be a great tool. This type of thing is really, really useful for us.”
Sloan can even afford a smile.
“Feedback has been refreshingly positive,” he says, “and the city usually doesn’t get a lot of positive feedback. Mostly it’s people pointing fingers at things they don’t like.”