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Shifting Site Selection: COVID-19’s Impacts on Corporate Location Decisions

September 16, 2020
By Lynn Demos

COVID-19 has changed everything. From schooling to dining out to travel, we can all recite a laundry list of ways COVID-19 has affected us. But what impact will COVID-19 have on businesses and their ability to expand and open new locations? While the true impact won’t be fully known for several years, the Site Selectors Guild surveyed its membership and has given us a sneak peek into what we might expect.

The Big Picture

The good news is COVID-19 hasn’t put a stop to decision making! Only 5% of members surveyed say companies are canceling site selection searches or choosing to consolidate their facilities. However, most respondents do not expect the majority of project activity to resume until 2021. Lastly, the survey has shown that large, urban cities like New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles are less desirable options for future projects and the biotech/life sciences industry is the most likely to produce active projects in the next 12 months.

What does this mean for Charleston?

Charleston is in a great position to come out of COVID-19 stronger than ever. Our status as a mid-size metro may work in our favor: as companies look to escape major cities, our “not too big but not too small” size may be very appealing. Charleston’s existing life sciences assets are a sure bet to entice future projects in the biotech/life sciences industry that site selectors expect to see boom when project activity kicks into gear in 2021.

As my colleague Mike Graney explained in April, South Carolina has positioned itself well to attract companies looking to onshore manufacturing or move their research and development into the USA. With a consistent pipeline of university and tech students available to companies, availability of Class A office space with research and lab capabilities, and a collaborative community of world class companies, Charleston is a hospitable home for life sciences companies looking to expand.

Is your company looking to expand? Charleston is open for business! Contact us for more information on what Charleston has to offer.

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