Certified SitesLED’s Certified Sites program ranked No. 4 nationally
LED’s Certified Sites program has grown exponentially in the last seven years, providing the state with an important tool for recruiting businesses and industries. Certified Sites provide an appealing advantage for interested parties: each site is 180-day development ready and free of potential issues that could delay construction. All certified sites have completed a rigorous application and review process conducted by an independent, third-party engineering firm. The in-depth evaluation includes a Phase I environmental site assessment, wetlands delineation, geotechnical survey, threatened and endangered species study, and a cultural and archaeological survey. This process ensures potential buyers that they will have no site issues that could disrupt critical construction schedules or present unexpected additional project costs. As of Q3 2016, LED listed over 70 certified sites with a half dozen more completed applications under review propelling Louisiana to top-five status in national certified sites programs.
Louisiana’s commitment to significantly growing its number of certified sites began with the Economic Development Site Readiness Program, which allowed the state to provide grant assistance to land owners through regional economic development allies. The grant pays 75 percent of the cost of the due diligence studies and application completion, requiring only a 25 percent local match from the applicant. LED has expanded the program in 2016 to certify smaller sites as well as sites that were not specifically intended for heavy industry. These new Certified Business Sites – between 10 and 25 acres – can benefit rural communities and smaller business needs, opening the door for mixed-use developments and business parks, which could include space for office, warehouse, retail, hotel and light industrial uses.
These new Certified Business Sites – between 10 and 25 acres – can benefit rural communities and smaller business needs.
Louisiana’s Certified Site program can offer peace of mind to potential developers in light of the recent flooding in Acadiana and the Capital Region of the state. All certified sites are rated for 100-year-flood status, which provides businesses additional assurance that a site is extremely unlikely to take on water, while it also significantly lowers insurance rates.
“Because we require that all certified sites be above the 100-year flood zone, they are not likely to be impacted from any flood event,” says Larry Henson, LED’s director of business intelligence.
Since affected regions in Louisiana experienced what meteorological experts called an unprecedented 500-year-flood in August, Henson’s team is taking extra steps to review any potential impact and ensure its Certified Sites program remains one of the nation’s best.
“For additional assurance due to the recent flooding, we hired a top engineering firm to review all of the Certified Sites that were located in the impacted parishes,” Henson said. “Studies proved that only one of those locations was affected by the flood and sustained only minor impact.”
LED makes it easy to view Louisiana’s extensive list of development-ready sites via http://www.opportunitylouisiana.com/sites. Search the database for locations and view an interactive map that illustrates how Louisiana's development-ready Certified Sites intersect with inbound and outbound logistics. In addition, LED has secured sophisticated GIS tools that enable project managers to locate suitable sites based on access to pipelines, roads, rail and other vital infrastructure.