The Washtenaw County economic development organization, Ann Arbor SPARK, just launched an online campaign designed to attract interest in the 2 million square foot facility that Pfizer will soon be vacating in Ann Arbor. It would be easy enough to poke fun at the piece, which, with its cheesy stock photos and not-quite-so-hip soundtrack, comes across as a bit dated, but I admire them for doing something. At least they’re being proactive and putting the word out there. I’ve asked people in our city a few times now for a simple piece outlining the specifics of what we have available on Water Street, and I’ve yet to see anything.
As far as I know, there isn’t a one-page sales document that states what we have available and what the terms would be if a company were interested in it. If it does exist, I haven’t seen it, and I can’t find it on the City’s website. Maybe that’ll be my first suggestion as a member of the 2020 Task Force… It doesn’t have to be animated either. I’d settle for an airial shot of the parcel, a mention of the proximity to the highway, a few statistics about local demographics and traffic patterns, and a clear explanation of what the value proposition is, from a corporate perspective.
And, as long as I’m giving out advice, I wonder to what extent we’re integrating Ann Arbor SPARK into our business attraction efforts. As they’re charged with bringing companies to Washtenaw County, it seems like they’d be a natural channel through which to market what we have in the Water Street parcel. I don’t know that we’d warrant a mention on their page for corporate site selectors, but, at the very least, I’d like to know that every person answering the phone at SPARK when a company calls, knows exactly what we have here. What about renting a bus and bringing the SPARK staff out here for lunch at Sidetrack? Maybe this has already been done. If it has, I apologize. If it hasn’t, though, why not pick up the phone?