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What does it mean to be “Shovel Ready?”

Nov 16, 2017

If you’ve spent any time looking at properties, pursuing commercial and industrial real-estate, or trying to decipher Oregon building code, it’s likely you’ve run across the term “shovel-ready” or “certified property.” Even on our website we have 26-acres listed in the industrial park as “certified shovel ready in 180 days.”

But what does the term “shovel-ready” actually mean and how does it impact the building process? We are here to clear things up, explain what it means to have a property state certified, and what the process to make a property shovel ready looks like.

Common Definition of Shovel Ready

The term “shovel ready” is often thrown around by developers and site selectors when speaking about properties to clients. Merriam-Webster dictionary simply describes it as “a construction project or site that is ready for the start of work.” While this may seem simple enough when attending a ground breaking, there is a vast amount of work involved to ensure a plot of land is ready for construction.

Often a “shovel ready” site refers to one that has environmental clearances, infrastructure in place, and through which various barriers such as title work, soil analysis, and more are already complete. It often implies that the project work can begin and that the initial planning stages are already complete. It should be noted that the term has different meanings in different states due to state led certification programs.

Oregon State Certified

In the State of Oregon, a plot of land can be designated as “Certified Shovel Ready” through a certification process led by Business Oregon, the state’s economic development agency. When a site has been certified shovel ready by the state of Oregon, it means that site meets a need as a market-ready, employment-oriented site that has been zoned for industrial or traded sector use and has passed a series of stipulations. The land must also be developable within 180 days or less.

In order to be certified as a shovel ready site, a business or organization must submit a commitment letter and comprehensive supplemental documents to Business Oregon. This commitment letter demonstrates that the site has had a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (or Phase II), an Archeological Predeterminate letter from the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), a title report, and a Department of State Lands (DSL) approved Wetland Determination Report. The report also includes letters of support from various agencies. All of this information informs on the site’s utilities, the local workforce availability, easements, environmental contamination, and more.

The process of obtaining these reports and data can be costly. By making a site “shovel ready” the developer/land owner/city has taken on this cost to ensure efficiency and ease of business for the company who wants to purchase the land and build on top of it.

26-acres on Orchard Avenue

In McMinnville, Oregon, we have one Certified Shovel Ready site in the McMinnville Industrial Park. The 26 acres found on Orchard Avenue is owned by McMinnville Industrial Promotions (MIP) and is zoned general industrial (M-2). The property is divisible and can be leased with a Build-to-Suit building.

McMinnville Industrial Promotions has been helping manufacturing businesses succeed for over 60 years. The organization purchases, develops, owns, and sells industrial properties throughout McMinnville to help companies cut through red tape and get to business faster. The organization went through the process of making their land Certified Shovel Ready to do just that, help businesses locate and expand in McMinnville.

Want to learn more about MIP, the 26-acres, and Certified Shovel Ready sites? Give us a call or email today!


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