Database streamlines site searches
- By Dibya Sarkar
- Jan 03, 2001
Use of a searchable Internet database of industrial properties available
in North Carolina has more than doubled over the past two years, and the
state's Department of Commerce is planning an enhanced version.
The North Carolina Department of Commerce, with the help of Boston-based
information technology consulting firm Keane Inc., developed NC SiteSearch
(www.ncsitesearch.com) two years ago as a
tool to help market the state. The Web site boasts data on about 2,000 buildings
and sites, most of them industrial.
Since its launch, use of the site has jumped from about 2,000 to 3,000
user sessions a month to roughly 7,500 monthly user sessions, said Todd
Tucker, director of the department's marketing and customer services division.
The department is looking to unveil an enhanced version by mid-2001.
This version would include certified or "shovel-ready" sites, as Tucker
called them. Entries for such properties would contain information such
as topography, site plan and layout, environmental factors, wetlands permits
and some pre-permits. Theoretically, a company could find such a site and
start breaking ground the next day, Tucker said, adding that Pennsylvania
and New York have similar programs.
Another user-friendly improvement would be to identify whether a property
can be subdivided. For example, a user searching for a 20-acre parcel may
only come up with a 500-acre parcel. The database enhancement would indicate
that the 500-acre parcel could be divided into 20-acre lots.
In the past, companies have struggled to get access to such information.
"We didn't always get the most accurate information in a timely fashion,"
Tucker said. Usually, the state Department of Commerce received information
on available properties from local real estate agents or the state's seven
public/private marketing entities. A department staff member then keyed
the information into the database, but it took a long time and information
was sometimes outdated by the time it became available to the public, he
The department has Web-enabled and streamlined the process so that the
people who have the best knowledge about a particular site or building can
input the data themselves.
For example, a local real estate broker can go to a Department of Commerce
Web page, enter a password, fill out the required information about a site
and send the information off to the system administrator, Tucker said. The
administrator will make sure all the necessary information has been entered
and will upload it by the next morning.
"We've increased our production and efficiency at the state level,"
Tucker said. "We've given that [staff] person another job."