By Mike Sunnucks | Rose Law Group Reporter
Mid-sized markets — such as Tucson, Raleigh, and Colorado Springs — and suburban areas are expected to see more economic development projects as companies and developers react to the COVID-19 pandemic.
That is according to a survey of site selectors conducted by the Site Selectors Guild and Development Counsellors International (DCI).
Survey asked site selectors about the economic development, jobs and commercial real estate landscapes as the economy deals with COVID-19 and all its ramifications.
Those professionals expect to see more projects and jobs land in suburban areas and mid-sized cities rather than dense and crowded downtown areas and larger markets.
Social distancing and health safety could result in more jobs landing outside expensive and high-density cities such as New York, Seattle and Chicago. Mid-sized markets have tended to have lower COVID-19 rates. They also less expensive in terms of real estate and labor.
The survey asked site selectors which mid-sized markets are most attractive for economic development in the age of COVID.
Their top list includes Tucson, Kansas City, Reno, Colorado Springs, Raleigh, Boise, Greenville, South Carolina., Columbus, Ohio, Huntsville, Alabama, Indianapolis and Columbia, South Carolina.
Pima County where Tucson is located has 1,463 COVID cases per 100,000 residents. That compares to Maricopa County which has 2,551.5 cases per 100,000 residents, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.
New York City has 2,680.4 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
The survey found 64 percent of site selectors expect their expansion or relocations projects to land in suburban areas in the next 12 months. Only 10 percent expect those types of projects to land in large downtowns.
The suburban dynamic could help freeway submarkets in Sun Belt cities such as Phoenix.
Among industries, the site selectors surveyed expected to the most activity in biotechnology and the biosciences, advanced manufacturing, food and beverage processing and transportation and logistics.
Those are industries that have seen growth in the Phoenix area.