Lake County Economic Alliance focuses on future for the Region

Lake County Economic Alliance focuses on future for the Region
By: Dan Petreikis Last Updated: September 3, 2019

A thorough knowledge of inventory is crucial to the growth and success of nearly any business. After all, how can your business thrive if you don’t know what you have to offer? For Lake County IN Economic Alliance (LCEA), their goal is continued growth and success of Lake County. Their business is attracting new businesses to the area, and their inventory is a comprehensive list of available land opportunities to attract those companies. 

Recently, they added a new tool to help them match potential businesses with local development opportunities. The Properties, Projects and Possibilities program, made possible in part through a $15,000 grant from the Legacy Foundation,  allows LCEA to leverage investments made in their customized software package, which facilitates project tracking, management and property data inventory.

“This effort is resulting in a more robust property database, key data points and research along with at more populated project system and efficient record keeping,” said Karen Lauerman, President and CEO of LCEA. “It will help us evaluate current  trends and analyze data l allowing us to present Lake County specific information that has never been collected before.”

A full use of the systems give LCEA the ability to record categories like estimated investment (resulting in increased assessed value), equipment/machinery investment, and more. It will also allow LCEA to identify which locations/communities potential businesses are considering, desired building size, and type of industry, sale versus lease, build to suit versus existing structure and a whole host of other project descriptors.

“There is no other comprehensive project like this in Lake County. LCEA is the right organization to, as the consolidated, coordinated organization for economic development, to handle this type of undertaking ” Lauerman said. “Ultimately, we’re hoping to track  the impact and value of economic development projects through these sources.”

Conveniently located close to the Chicago metropolitan area, and along the south shore of Lake Michigan, Lake County is particularly well-suited to potential growth.

“We’re looking for brownfield opportunities, either ones that are eligible for remediation or ones that are already in remediation, developable land space, existing structuresWe’re searching for inventory,” Lauerman said. 

So far, it’s working—and working well. LCEA currently has 79 active projects in the pipeline, over half in the manufacturing sector. Distribution and logistics, which includes e-commerce facilities, is a close second, followed by the technology, office/medical and agri-business (food-related) industry clusters.

“We went from approximately 145 properties to roughly 600 properties within the last eight months, as a result of this project,” Lauerman said. “This will help us with business retention as well since a good percentage of  growth comes from existing companies expanding and growing. That means adding employees, adding to space to their facility, adding new equipment, adding to better serve their customers."

LCEA serves Lake County, Ind. and all 19 municipalities and unincorporated areas therein, positioning the area as a great place to locate, relocate or expand business operations. Leveraging Lake County’s location, infrastructure assets, quality of life, beautiful shores of Lake Michigan along with the better business climate of the State of Indiana ensures continued success.

A robust site and building inventory with a well populated project management system helps LCEA position Lake County for prosperity and possibilities.

“We want to grow and attract jobs, and encourage investment," said Lauerman.

For more information about LCEA, visit online at https://lcea.us/.