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State launches program to aid businesses in site selection

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Commercial and industrial building projects in California will get under way more quickly than in the past, thanks to a new program announced Wednesday by the state Business, Transportation and Housing Agency.

The Site Certification Program allows local governments to register “project ready” commercial or industrial sites and market them as locations for new business investment and expansion.

The program was developed to assist businesses with the site selection, planning and development process.

“As California faces increasing competition from other states for new or relocating businesses, we must work together in finding new ways to reduce business costs and ease the process of expanding or relocating to California,” said Dale Bonner, secretary of the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency in a statement. “By streamlining and facilitating the site-selection process in California, we can help stimulate regional business expansion and attract new investment as the current economic situation improves in communities large and small.”

The California Department of Real Estate will certify each site, checking on the availability of utilities, site access, environmental concerns, land use conformance and potential site development costs. The DRE will work with local and regional economic development agencies, utilities and commercial real estate agents to maintain an inventory of commercial and industrial sites available for purchase or lease in the hopes of expediting the process for companies. Thus far, the agency has identified certified sites in Redding, Apple Valley and Riverside County.

“By working together over the past year, state and local stakeholders have developed a statewide program that will help local governments showcase opportunities for employers looking to expand or relocate to California as the economy continues to recover,” Bonner said. “In return for the modest up front costs of preparing sites for certification, local governments can now take the guess work out of the site location process thereby reducing relocation and expansion costs for business and accelerating the time it takes to generate much-needed jobs and tax revenue.”

Criteria for the Site Certification Program and a list of certified sites is available at: dre.ca.gov/ind_certified_sites.html.

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