Suburban areas and mid-size cities, followed by rural areas, will be the biggest winners of new corporate expansions and relocations, with large urban areas falling to the bottom of the list, according to a survey on the impact of COVID-19. The findings were released today by the Site Selectors Guild, the only association of the world’s foremost professional site selection consultants.
Conducted the week of June 29, 2020 in partnership with Development Counsellors International (DCI), the online survey of Guild members aimed to uncover changes and new trends in corporate location strategy brought on by the COVID-19 crisis. The COVID-19 impact survey of Guild members was the second of its kind, with the first conducted in April 2020.
“As advisors on corporate location strategy across all industries, Guild members are the first to see emerging trends and changes in corporate location decisions before they are ever made public,” said Jay Garner, Site Selectors Guild board chair and president of Garner Economics LLC. “This perspective is particularly telling.”
“Everything from physical distancing to changing transit preferences has affected the way that corporations view location decisions,” said Rick Weddle, president and CEO of the Site Selectors Guild. “We hope this insight from our members will help both corporate decision makers and economic developers understand the changing landscape as well as new opportunities.”
The top findings of this research follow below and are available in an infographic here.
Suburbs and Mid-Size Cities Will Be the Next Winners for Corporate Location Projects
The pandemic has brought suburban areas and mid-size cities into the forefront of consideration for future site selection projects and even put rural areas well ahead of large urban areas. When Guild members were asked about locations that are “likely” or “very likely” to be considered by corporations looking to expand, relocate or open new facilities in the next 12 months, 64% chose suburban areas, 57% chose mid-size cities, 31% chose rural areas, and just 10% chose large urban areas.
Consultants indicated that New York would be hit especially hard among the nation’s largest cities. Of the consultants who agreed that large urban centers are “not at all” or “unlikely” to be considered for future projects, 100% said that New York City would be among the least likely locations to be considered for future projects in the next 12 months. Los Angeles and Chicago followed with 63% and 42%, respectively.
Consultants were also asked to name specific mid-size cities that would be strong potential candidates for new locations or expansion projects in the next year and named the following cities (presented in alphabetical order):
• Boise, ID
• Colorado Springs, CO
• Columbia, SC
• Columbus, OH
• Greenville, SC
• Huntsville, AL
• Indianapolis, IN
• Kansas City, MO
• Raleigh-Durham, NC
• Reno, NV
• Tucson, AZ