Fernley: Second best place to run a warehouse
April 21, 2015
A recent report conducted by a leading firm that consults Fortune 500 companies on logistics and supply chain management named Fernley, the nation's second-best location for large-scale distribution development.
That was old news to team members which lead the effort to promote the region and they're busy spreading the word.
A partnership between the non-profit Northern Nevada Development Authority, the City of Fernley, NVEnergy, and the Crossroads Commerce Center is ramping up its proactive efforts to maximize the potential of the region's benefits to large-scale warehousing and distribution enterprises.
With funding earmarked for rural economic development, a traveling team of experts from the partner organizations is taking the "we are perfect for your business" message to companies in person, building relationships and helping them with the decision to build new facilities and bring well-paying jobs to the city which enjoys the strategically beneficial convergence of Interstate 80, U.S. Highway 50 and U.S. Highway 95, the location of the Crossroads Commerce Center.
Brian Armon, the team's commercial real estate development expert with Cushman Wakefield, represents the CCC.
He loves touting the region's allure.
"Our transportation nexus is unique in that it provides easy access to preferred trucking and rail routes that connect distributors to 80 percent of the western states' 50 million-plus consumers overnight."
Add to that the economic benefits of a business-friendly environment, fast-track approval processes, redundant fiber trunk lines, and ample water reserved for the CCC.
Another plus, in Armon's estimation, is "our built-in workforce that get operations up and performing quickly and our level topography which brings excellent efficiencies and start-up cost savings for site development."
The upshot: you have the perfect expression of the old saying that, "The three most important things about real estate are location, location, location."
Danny Campos, NNDA's vice president of economic development, says the team was way out in front of the report.
"We were already well on track when it came out. Our partnership recognizes that we have this great opportunity. When the market dropped, everything came to a standstill. That wasn't a good thing, but it gave us a chance to regroup and assess where our real strengths are. Now, with the funding through grants and sponsors like NVEnergy, we are able to afford to go out there pro-actively and promote them."
The utility's business development manager, Brad Woodring explains, "our budget supports these kinds of trips. We're not the typical utility. If you look around the country, you'll see most wait for the entity to come to them for solutions.
"We, on the other hand, are actively recruiting companies along with NNDA, and come together with our partners in a strategic way. It extends far beyond basic economic development to include education and labor, transportation and all the other pieces that go into building the matrix of regional development."
"The idea of going out on specific recruitment tours puts a heavy team focus on the approach," said Campos.
"Were getting great returns and feedback, so … so far so good. I think we can reasonably anticipate a pay off on our efforts. Our plan sets goals to bring a certain number of jobs over 12, 24 and 36 months.
"In the short term, over the next 6 to 12 months we'd like to start activities that will create 100 to 300 high-paying jobs. We're looking at technology-related companies and larger manufacturers who pay higher salaries. That's extremely important."
Says Armon, "We're creating more exposure for Lyon County, then specifically Fernley, and then more specifically to Crossroads. We've done a huge amount of planning and we have full days of appointments, so I'm really looking forward to it. I'm also intrigued to find out what kind of questions, and what kind of understanding, they have about the state of Nevada."
Woodring stresses the importance of that pre-planning: "We work with an organization that sources the target companies based on our specific parameters. We analyze revenues, number of employees and their business and political hot buttons, so we can go in very prepared.
"When we get in front of these decision makers … to promote our solutions to their pain points, we have the best opportunity to increase our closing ratio."
Campos said "these companies are specifically looking for what Fernley and Crossroads have to offer."
"Just to close one would be a huge win for us," adds Armon.
Woodring summarizes, "It's about creating what I call a 'twister,' it starts small at the bottom gets bigger at the top and has amazing energy.
"The jobs create real estate demand and feeds the need for services, all of which builds tax revenue, which then supports the growth of the community and quality of life. The Crossroads Commerce Center lines up great with these priorities.
"It's an amazing logistics hub, not only distribution, but manufacturing, too. There's ample power and water, there's a good labor market and all the pieces are there to make it highly successful in the new economy. Brian has done a great job representing that."