Document Ready (Certified) Site Program Launched

Fargo, N.D. (January 19, 2022) – Led by the Greater FM EDC and funded by Fueling Our Future and local property owners, two regional sites are ready to begin marketing as Document Ready Sites, sometimes referred to as “Certified” or “Shovel Ready” sites.

The EDC has worked with multiple partners over the last two years to build the program and qualify sites in Moorhead and Fargo and as document ready, which means that a significant amount of pre-work, identification and location of utilities, and technical reporting on the properties is complete. For example, to be deemed document ready, a site has completed a litany of technical work such as soil surveys, environmental assessments, wetlands mapping or endangered species assessment. The more technical reports completed, the higher the document ready certification – Platinum, Gold, Silver, or Bronze.

Moorhead’s MCCARA site is 197 acres and is at a Platinum level (the highest level available). The site is located just south of I-94 on HWY 52 in Moorhead.

Fargo’s Holmquist Site is 111 acres and is at Silver level. The site is located at 37th Street N and 52nd Avenue North, the site is 111.7 acres.

Phil Schneider, global site selection expert, has been consulting on the project and is certifying the documentation of the regional sites.

“Having marketable business and industrial sites has always been important to a company’s site selection process, and to economic development in general, but it has become more critical than ever both because so many communities around the country have rapidly upped their game in preparing and marketing ready-to-go sites to companies considering expansion, and also since the pandemic, companies’ have had to double down on their speed-to-market which in turn has made the availability of document-ready sites an integral part of their location decision process –  and therefore now essentially table-stakes for economic development efforts,” said Phil Schneider, Schneider Strategy Consulting, LLC.

“The City of Moorhead is excited to see the Moorhead MCCARA Industrial Park (at the intersection of I-94 and SE Main Ave) recognized as a Platinum-level site for the regional Shovel-Ready Site Program,” said Moorhead Mayor Shelly Carlson. “This is the largest shovel-ready site in the State of Minnesota, and this recognition makes this specific spot more attractive to companies and site-selection consultants looking for locations for business startups, expansions, and relocations.  We are eager to show businesses prime locations in Moorhead so companies hit the ground running!”

To develop a piece of property, there are certain requirements and studies that need to be done. For example, the property needs to be studied for any wetland issues or archeological significance. When a property owner enrolls a property as “document ready” or “shovel ready”, they will pay for certain testing and review processes to be done so that it can be ready for a company to develop it, saving them time and money.

While developing these programs can take significant effort such as costs of studies and data reviews, once complete, having well-understood and fully documented sites provides the economic developer and the site owner with a ready-to-go “product” to present to expanding local companies and to market to outside companies.  Having a portfolio of fully documented sites greatly reduces the scramble to respond to RFI’s and RFP’s by having complete and up-to-date site data on hand, packaged, and ready to send to a prospect the day the RFI is received.

“As an executive committee member of the GFMEDC Board, and a utility service provider to many developable sites in the region, it is exciting to see this program coming to fruition as we know the importance to companies of having property positioned for development,” said Marshal Albright, President & CEO of Cass County Electric Cooperative.

“The GFMEDC, through Fueling our Future, is proud to have worked with a number of regional partners including city staff, utility companies, engineering firms, commercial realtors, and landowners to build critical tools for industrial site selection,” said Joe Raso, President & CEO of the Greater Fargo Moorhead EDC.  “What makes this Regional Document Ready Site program so impactful is the partnership with our nationally recognized site selection consultant, Phil Schneider, who helped us design, develop, and manage the work that went into building the program and certifying the sites.”

To access information on each of the document ready sites, go to

 Fueling Our Future (FOF) is a joint venture between The Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce and Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corporation that provides a platform for convening regional leaders to identify, understand, discuss and invest in macro-economic and community-based initiatives that will have lasting regional impacts.


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