Tom Dubel is a real estate consultant with Altus Group, where he leads companies to choose strategic locations for their business operations. He's credited with helping to bring two companies and hundreds of jobs to the Kansas City area. Recently, he sat down with the Kansas City Area Development Council to discuss what cities can do to attract business, the best incentives to offer, and site selection trends.
What's the best way to incentivize projects?
Performance-based incentives are best, as they build a lasting partnership between the company and locality. Both sides are making a commitment to the future success of the project, which will in turn yield local economic impact that is key to any community's future growth and economic success.
What are the biggest drivers in determining where a company should locate?
The biggest drivers are usually labor and operational functionality of the location. These are usually the two most important factors. Incentives play a role in differentiating costs as well as showing a company that the community is a welcoming and willing partner who is committed to the area's growth and economic well-being.
What are the biggest trends in site selection you've seen in recent years?
Companies are paying attention to all aspects of location projects: operational metrics, site suitability, project costs, incentives. But additionally, more companies are looking at their existing 'location inventory' and expanding or optimizing, rather than the default methodology of buying or building in a brand new location.
What is the number one thing Kansas City can do right now to heighten its appeal?
Kansas City is a world-class city that deserves a world-class airport. A partnership should be formed with the current airlines to upgrade and build out the airport. The airport is the first vision of Kansas City that nearly all visitors experience, and it should be a memorable one that gels with the rest of the City. Currently, it is not and that is an improvement that should continue to pay dividends into the future.