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Covington Revives E-Campaign to Match Businesses with Properties

The City of Covington is resurrecting its real estate leads e-blast.
 
The goal is to link property owners and businesses looking to move into the city.
 
"We receive two or three new inquiries every week from people looking for space, whether that's for office, retail, industrial, warehouse, or whatever," said Ross Patten, the city's economic development project manager. "If we don't engage the real estate community, if we don't communicate that interest, and if owners hold their properties' availability close to the vest, then we all miss out on opportunities."
 
The e-blast will be geared toward people like realtors, real estate investors, and commercial property owners, the city said in a news release.
 
It will feature brief descriptions of what amounts to "want ads" for space/property in Covington, with a focus on the newest inquiries. It will also highlight various City economic development programs, such as incentive programs, and the latest news events.
 
For example, one listing will read like this:
 
"Office user: Transportation brokerage office user searching for approx. 4,000 - 6,000 SF for 25 employees. Prefers an open floor/industrial feel layout and wants the cool, walkable vibe to attract employees."
 
The first issue of "Covington Real Estate Leads" will be emailed Monday.
 
To sign up to receive the e-blast, click HERE.
 
Covington did something similar during several months in 2017, but the effort fell by the wayside due to staff turnover at City Hall and vacant positions, Patten said.
 
During its first rendition, the "Covington Real Estate Leads" initiative made several "matches," he said, with one resulting in the arrival of Agave & Rye restaurant on Madison Avenue. It was a textbook example of what the City's Economic Development hoped to accomplish with the initiative, Patten said: The Realtor handling the building saw the "lead" in the City's e-blast, called City Hall, and the City brought the property to the attention of the prospective business.
 
"One thing led to another, and now we have another thriving business in Covington," Patten said.
 
The newsletter also helps to "train" property owners - especially those with flexible space - by telling them critical information about the sizes and types of buildings and space that prospective businesses are seeking and how to then market their property effectively, Patten said.
 
When a property owner sees a "want ad" that their property might match, they contact the City, which can help coordinate a meeting or visit and provide details on potential incentives, zoning regulations, and a myriad other issues, Patten said.
 
"It takes a team effort," he said. "A lot of time, the companies who contact the City are very early in their search process, but if we can propose a likely site and persuade them to make a visit, it's more likely that we'll be able to 'close the deal' and bring them to Covington. But to do that, we need to know about available property."
 
Covington Economic Development Director Tom West said the "leads" e-blast was another part of the ongoing effort by his department to be more assertive and strategic in marketing Covington.
 
"Covington has an incredible energy right now, and we're getting interest from all kinds of prospective businesses," he said. "We have to be prepared to turn that interest into concrete investment."
 
-Staff report