Purpose: The Economic Development Division of the Regional Municipality of Durham (Invest Durham) undertakes activities that attract investment into the region, leading to creation of high-quality jobs in Durham. To do so, Invest Durham meets with numerous domestic and international companies that are looking to establish or expand their operations in North America. The collateral needed by Invest Durham to do so includes information on investible real estate in Durham.
Until 2020, Invest Durham collected information on real estate when required to service a business inquiry. In 2021, we decided to be more proactive and initiated the Durham Region Signature Sites Project to put together a marketable document on Durham’s suitable real estate for investment attraction purposes. This project was a collaboration between Invest Durham and the Durham Economic Development Partnership, which includes all Local Area Municipal partners.
Challenges: While our target audience includes upper-tier governments, real estate brokers, commercial and industrial real estate developers, and site selectors, our primary audience is the business leaders of the world. The biggest challenge, therefore, lay in presenting the information that was crisp and concise, yet detailed enough to showcase the intricate details of the real estate in Durham. Invest Durham held a Realtor and Developer event in the fall of 2021. The Durham Region Signature Sites document was launched within that event’s toolkit, giving us only a few months from conception to completion.
Approach: The Invest Durham team created a template for collecting the ‘right’ information at the information gathering stage. The template was shared with our numerous community partners with an objective to save time and reduce the effort needed to filter ‘right’ information later in the project. The information collected therefore was high-quality and only with a few iterations, the collected information was put together in a designed package that reflected Invest Durham’s branding.
In parallel, Invest Durham had been working on delivering a virtual event for showcasing important economic updates to the real estate developer and broker community in Greater Toronto Area. While the event had its own objectives, it became a great platform to launch the real estate package – Durham Region Signature Sites. The date chosen for the virtual event essentially provided the timeline for the Signature Sites project as well.
Effectiveness: Durham Region Signature Sites has become a document to support Invest Durham’s investment attraction efforts, especially when servicing investment inquiries. It is used more broadly while engaging with upper-tier governments, site selectors, real estate developers and brokers. Invest Durham has received leads that have originated from Signature Sites document.