Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Team NEO gives top site consultants a tour of Northeast Ohio's assets

CLEVELAND -- Fifty-five stories over Public Square offers a sweeping view of Cleveland's past and emerging future.

If you want to impress someone -- say, four of the country's most influential real estate prospectors -- it makes sense to start here.

And so, while the city bustled to do its rock 'n' roll best two weekends ago, a much smaller yet vital effort to showcase the region started with breakfast served on Royal Doulton china in the 55th-floor conference room at Key Tower.

Over the next 40 hours, the region's savviest business boosters would squire three men and one woman to private confabs with the region's brightest minds and most powerful leaders.

The four picked virtual flowers at the NASA Glenn Research Center, ate killer cheesecake in Bratenahl and thrilled to guitar licks from rock icons Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page.

Why the red carpet? These four can make new business happen.

They are among the best of some 2,000 "site selectors" nationwide, experts in the data-crunching art of matching businesses with sites for expansion or relocation.

A new plant or corporate headquarters are manna for job-starved regions like ours. So top site consultants are peppered with invitations from cities and regions, often linked with high-profile events.

"I could do it every weekend if I said yes," says Noah Shlaes, a manager of strategic consulting for Grubb & Ellis Co. in Chicago. More here.

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