Finding the right place to locate or grow your business just got easier; thanks to a new dynamic website that showcases Whatcom County’s available real estate. This month the Port of Bellingham launched whatcomprospector.com with a powerful Geographic Information System (GIS) that makes business relocation information a mouse click away.
“We know that over 97 percent of initial business site selection screening is done on-line and we want to make sure Whatcom County is positioned to attract new job growth and new businesses,” said Port Commission President Jim Jorgensen.
Whatcomprospector.com provides immediate access to in-depth information that previously took weeks to research. Now, data including dynamic real estate, demographic and industry breakdowns are available free and instantly, along with a database of available properties with images.
“This site includes information about all the available land, buildings and development opportunities in the county, not strictly Port of Bellingham property,” said Port Executive Director Rob Fix. “This is part of our commitment to promote countywide development and we believe this coordinated approach will improve our economy.”
The Port worked with the local development and real estate community to ensure this site would meet their needs. Already local realtors and land owners are adding their available properties to the site, free of charge, adding to the overall value of the information.
“I have reviewed whatcomprospector.com and find the site both helpful to the commercial real estate community as well as a good resource directory for any business coming into the area,” said Jim Bjerke with Pacific Continental Realty. “The information on the Communities will help present the community to new and expanding business in the area and the Building/Site search tools present the choices for locations for those business in a clean and informative format that the prospective tenants can use as they format their business plans. “
The website also provides dynamic mapping capabilities including the ability view geographic “layers” of information. Corresponding demographic reports such as labor force, education levels, consumer spending, and age can be created. In addition, businesses are mapped by industry showing their distribution and concentrations throughout the area.
In 2012, Whatcom County Executive Jack Louws assigned the Port to serve as Whatcom County’s Associate Development Organization (ADO), making the Port responsible to serve companies that would like to operate anywhere in the county, and promote Whatcom County as a place to do business.
The ADO role includes marketing Whatcom County, working with the state of Washington’s Department of Commerce to field new business inquiries and providing business support services. The Port also is grantee of Foreign Trade Zone #129 and offers Industrial Revenue Bonds as a business capital project financing option. The Port’s Business and Economic Development Division has three full-time staff.