Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What are the key attributes of a Certified Shovel Ready site?
A: Achieving Certified Shovel Ready designation for a site is a function of two variables. First, a site must have strong innate characteristics: (configuration, location, topography, proximity to transportation and utilities, etc.), in order to be viewed as a world-class site when under consideration during corporate site searches. Second, the site must have a willing owner/developer and supportive community to make the necessary investments to overcome any existing obstacles that keep the property from being “shovel ready”.
Q: Are there any minimum acreage requirements for sites to participate in the program?
A: Yes. Each site category has specific minimum acreage criteria. Likewise, two of the building sub-categories have minimum square footage criteria. Sites in rural communities (population less than 5,000) can submit industrial sites as small as 25 developable acres. All other industrial sites must be a minimum of 50 developable acres or more.
For two of the categories, Smart Office and Technology Center, there is no acreage requirement, but rather a minimum square footage requirement. These categories are designated for developers of office and research buildings, as well as, office and research parks.
Please refer to the programs “Specific Category Requirements” (a.k.a. Utility Matrix) for more information.
Q: Does the site and/or building need to be LEED-certified?
A: No. Sites and buildings do not need to be LEED-certified by the U.S. Green Building Council. Since today’s successful corporations have made environmentally sustainably a priority, the candidate sites and buildings should incorporate sustainable design features. Though, the program does require that the primary campus or building design professional be LEED-accredited.
Q: What are the program’s minimum documentation standards for certification?
A: Minimum documentation standards include, but are not limited to: detailed site information; community support; site ownership/control; maps/photos; land use and zoning; evidence of wetlands/ waterways protection; evidence of other environmental and cultural protection; adequate transportation infrastructure; confirmation of utility capacity and its infrastructure in place.
Q: Does the site need to have all utilities on-site for certification?
A: Yes. In nearly all circumstances, utilities need to be on-site or adjacent to the property boundary.
Q: Will those sites that are designated as Certified Shovel Ready receive any special preference or acknowledgement when marketed by those participating in this program.
A: If awarded Certified Shovel Ready designation, the site information will be given priority listing on websites and within LOIS (Location One Information System). Moreover, sponsoring economic development organizations will have all of the necessary detailed site information at their finger tips, in order to present a compelling case to prospective corporations considering expansion in the Midwest.
Q: Who determines which sites are certified?
A: The Standards & Criteria Committee will review all pre-applications, directing the landowner/ developer/municipality whether or not to proceed onto the full application process. Once a full application is submitted, a third-party site selection consultant will review the application.
Q: Will any site visits be made?
A: Yes. Representatives from the Standards & Criteria Committee will visit the site after a pre-application is submitted. Additionally, the third-party site selection consultant will make a field visit prior to designating the site as Certified Shovel Ready.
Q: What are the fees for submitting an application?
A: There is no fee to submit a pre-application. There is a $1,000 application fee to receive the “application/due diligence checklist” and submit a full application. This fee is used to cover administrative costs of the program, including additional marketing of the Certified Shovel Ready sites.
Q: Are there any additional costs?
A: Yes. Each Certified Shovel Ready site will likely require professional documentation from engineers and other qualified professionals. These costs are the responsibility of the landowner/ developer.
In addition, each site will be reviewed by a third-party site selection consultant, who will work with each applicant to fill in application deficiencies. This technical review fee is the responsibility of the landowner/developer/municipality.
The amount of the fee will depend upon the completeness and quality of the application. Fees start at approximately $10,000 per site, plus reimbursable expenses for travel, software and/or data related to the project.
Q: Does the applicants need to make a formal presentation as part of the application process?
A: A formal presentation is not a requirement for the pre-application process, though the Standards & Criteria Committee may ask to meet with an applicant to answer questions about a property in the pre-application process.
As part of the Technical Review, the third-party site selection consultant may require a formal presentation during their site visit.
Q: Once a pre-application is approved, how long does an applicant have to get certified?
A: The applicant has one (1) year to submit a full application from the time a pre-application is approved. Once an application is submitted, an applicant has up to six months to become certified. If infrastructure or road improvements are required, a six (6) month extension may be granted to allow for its completion.
Q: How often must a site recertify?
A: Once a site is certified under a program, the site will retain its status for period of three (3) years. At that time, the commitment letters and other letters of support will need to be updated for the site to maintain its Certified Shovel Ready designation for an addition (2) two years.
Q: Does a site need to have a Phase 1 Environmental Survey completed?
A: Yes. Each site will need to have a recent Phase 1 Environmental Survey preformed on the site when submitting a full application. It is not necessary for the pre-application, but it is strongly encouraged.