Sep 22, 2022
Benton Blaine, Joseph Beasley Co-Author Area Development Article on Building Local Consensus for Big-Box Projects
In the September 2022 issue of Area Development magazine, vice president Benton Blaine and assistant vice president Joseph Beasley of MWC’s infrastructure and economic development team co-authored “Gaining Community Approval for Your Next Big-Box Project”, detailing the steps companies and developers should take to gain community approval for a big-box project.
Local governments have been pushing back on big-box distribution centers, as localities have focused on projects with a larger taxable investments and a greater number of higher paying jobs, they noted. Additionally, opposing residents may exert political pressures on governing boards with criticism of heavy truck traffic, industrial building aesthetics and environmental impacts.
“There is no magic wand or silver bullet to mitigate the risk that a company faces against these criticisms and pressures.” Blaine and Beasley noted. “However there are steps that a company may take to first understand the risk associated with a site, effectively navigate these challenges and secure a strategic location for its project.” The strategies include collecting data and performing due diligence at the start; securing nondisclosure agreements to secure confidentiality from competitors; identifying an architect, general contractor and freight forwarder with local knowledge; and engaging a state or regional economic development agency.
“Ultimately, education is the most powerful tool that a company’s project team can wield. When all the actors mentioned above understand the role a company’s project will play in benefiting the local economy and quality of life, they will be more eager to find solutions to regulatory hurdles, influence public sentiment, and expedite the entire review process.”