What is “Quality of Life?”

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By David Berzina

When companies make a decision to expand or relocate, they start with core criteria that has a business-first listing of requirements. The overall cost of doing business, the ability to find and retain a specific talent or workforce, a facility, available incentives and a distribution system, and somewhere in that criteria rests the term, “Quality of Life.”

The “Quality of Life” component that exists inside each of our respective communities is unique to all of us. Our perceptions are not identical. What is enjoyed by one may not be that impressive to another. That is why communities need a diverse, evolving, dynamic influx of ideas and support for parks, culture, sports/recreation, transportation, housing, night life, shopping, education, public art and a friendly citizenry.

We are all residents of our respective municipalities and like our professional sports teams, most of us feel proud of our home town. We sometimes even forgive the obvious negatives associated with our towns or teams, focusing only on the positives, loyal to the core or bitter end.

When explaining or describing our respective homes to new friends on vacation or strangers in an airport, we tend to accentuate the positives concerning our livability, the schools, the shopping, the tourism attractions, new buildings, museums, our sports teams, and at some point, we talk about the latest company that moved to town.

To some extent, because it validates us. It is something like a beauty pageant contest that we have won, we feel good about ourselves because someone from the outside has validated our decision on where to live, publicly validated our position.

Quality of life is also a major attractor for companies interested in establishing their next corporate location or growing their business. Consider the different companies that have made their way to our region over the past several years. When there are many similarities across multiple markets, the “Quality of Life” component and the people, we people who make up these municipalities, are the differentiator.

Incentives are the icing on the cake after the criteria has been met. Companies, their consultants and staff and board know that they will bring a real value, an influx of new capital and blood to the victorious community in the search competition. The bigger the project in terms of jobs and capital investment, the more icing it will take to cover up that cake!

In the end, each new project that scours the US or the anywhere else in the world to secure their next commercial real estate solution may prioritize these criteria a bit differently, but they generally come down to these items: costs, workforce, facility, incentives, means of distribution and quality of life.

Next time you here about a mega project looking for a home, maybe it would be good opportunity for the community leaders to take a hard look at their community and see if they really believe they have what it takes in terms of the quality of life demands that are being made by the companies and their teams in charge of securing a new place to call home.

If the honest answer is “no,” then maybe that can be a platform to start building on in order to enhance the town for the current citizenry and become better prepared to land the next big deal coming down the road.

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