A new commercial real estate site is opening its doors Tuesday: ZoomProspector. It's designed to help businesses find communities for new offices or plants, and then find the properties that fit their needs.
The service collects business stats on cities and counties, and lets you explore those in a clean interface. More importantly, it lets you search for communities that meet the criteria that matter to you. If you want a fast-growing, white-collar community near an active entrepreneurial ecosystem and a major airport, you probably already know where to look. But if you need to site and staff a manufacturing plant and are looking for community stability and an underemployed blue-collar workforce, there are options you may not know about. This service should help you find and compare them.
The ZoomProspector team gets its data from a variety of sources and has deals with chambers of commerce and commercial real estate companies to pull it all together. I saw an earlier beta of the site and found it hard to use, but I like the version that's being released Tuesday. I did find the "wizard" that walks you through community selection too linear, but you can skip it and enter in your criteria directly to search the database if you like.
The service will also connect you with consultants who specialize in industries or locations, as well as economic development agencies that can help you grease the skids when you get interested in a locale.
One might think it is a bad time to launch a real estate site, either commercial or residential, but in the coming months business owners who want to survive will be forced to take a very clinical view of their operations, which includes siting. This tool could help.