Development Questions? Help is available.
Since 2009 development throughout the country has been slow and Northern Michigan has been no exception. However, with the economy back on track and a lack of available properties on the market, this is beginning to change. During the past year we have seen numerous projects proposed and permitted and handful of new construction now underway in and around Traverse City. The development process can be daunting to businesses and without special programs and assistance to help businesses, some developments would never get started.
Last month the Traverse Bay Economic Development Corporation (TBEDC) invited a group of commercial realtors to a round table discussion at the Chamber of Commerce building. The purpose was to educate the agents on the programs offered to help local businesses grow and new businesses open in Grand Traverse County and the surrounding areas. TBEDC invited numerous governmental groups to the meeting to explain what they are doing to help economic development and attract businesses to our area. The descriptions below are not meant to be comprehensive by any means, but just a small example of some of the services these groups are offering. The incredible part is that all of the services are free!
The Small Business Development Center is a group of full time individuals that have all had first-hand experience owning a business. Their services include market analysis, business comps, sales per square foot, business counseling and planning, site analysis and a wealth of other business planning services. If they do not have data on a particular site or business, they have a partnership with Grand Valley University to have research done on numerous aspects of business development and planning. The Northwest Michigan Business Atlas also offers help to grow businesses. They can help a business find an expert in a specific field in which they need help. They help businesses with hiring employees, financing, private and government incentives, growth planning, importing & exporting products, strategic planning and many other essential business planning tools.
Grand Traverse County has money available to help support development projects through Brownfield funds, tax abatements and various incentives for businesses. The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) can help by providing grant money that is earmarked for historic preservation of downtowns, to help eliminate blight, or to help with the creation of jobs in Michigan. They are placing information on our local communities on web sites such as zoomprospector (www.zoomprospector.com) to help growing companies learn about areas in Michigan that would be well suited for a company looking to relocate.
The number of programs and groups offering help can seem slightly overwhelming and the Traverse Bay EDC is here to help businesses through that process. They are able to guide customers to the right group to offer the help they need. Whether it is business planning and support services, location services, funding or grant programs, the TBEDC has a wealth of tools to help businesses grow.
For specific information on business location or development or more information on any of these programs, please feel free to contact our team.
-Dan Stiebel, CCIM