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Videos featuring virtual spec buildings in rural Iowa soon will be debuting on the Worldwide Web. Western Iowa Advantage (WIA), a regional economic development association, is promoting these new buildings in an  eight-county region of Iowa on videos posted here

Instead of building a spec building, and letting it sit vacant in the hopes of attracting a buyer, the WIA program will allow developers to create virtual tours of potential buildings (what they would like if really built) and the land surrounded them. One video, set in the Ashwood Business Park in Carroll, Iowa, shows both the exterior and interior of a 25,000-square-foot office and industrial building that could be located on 3.5 acres near a relatively new seed company building (photo above). 

The goal is to hook a prospect on the Net and perhaps land site-selection visits, said Jim Gossett, a WIA representative.“We are getting them interested so they call us,” Gossett said.Local development organizations involved in the WIA consortium provide about $10,000 in funding to Western Iowa Advantage annually. Using some of that money and a $50,000 grant from the Iowa Department of Economic Development, WIA is working in concert with the Omaha, Neb., firm of Ayars & Ayars on the virtual building program. Using satellite-imaging data the video tour leaves the viewer with an uncanny sense of place, a virtual experience that is striking to watch.

The financial contribution from the businesses or developers who want to be involved is still be ironed out, Gossett said. Western Iowa Advantage is a collaborative effort of economic development officials in Adair, Audubon, Carroll, Crawford, Greene, Guthrie, Ida and Sac Counties.

Douglas Burns

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