Mapping out prospects

By ROBERT LINNEHAN | The Voorhees Sun

A real estate Web site designed and launched about a year ago has been a boon for the township’s economy, Director of Economic Development Michael Marchitto revealed this week. Voorhees Prospector has helped bring in and identify interested potential business owners to Voorhees Township, he said.

The original tool is only utilized by three other cities throughout the country, representatives said, and none on the East Coast. The Web site, VoorheesProspector.com, offers street-level visualization layers over a Google Map. Potential investors now have a valuable tool to research areas in the township.

The feedback on the site has been tremendous, Marchitto said, and it’s something that Voorhees will flesh out from its present trial form.

“So far it’s been a really good addition to help bring businesses into town,” he said. “In the past five or six years, the dynamics of the site selection industry for economic development has changed more than the previous 35 years combined. What’s driving that change is the availability of information through the Internet. Site selection consultants use information from community Web sites, and if you don’t have that available, they’ll pass you up very quickly.”

The Web site offers visitors a view and list of all available commercial buildings, land and property for sale in Voorhees. The site features a user-friendly interface that “layers” local geographic information over a Google Map.

Some of the information available to prospective investors includes county and township lines, parcels, voting districts, hospitals, rail, zoning and the Town Center. The new site also allows visitors to view Voorhees using Google Earth and Google Maps Street View. Users can also quickly measure any distance on the map, select and filter certain areas of the city and quickly determine exact GPS coordinates at the click of a mouse.

Site visitors are greeted by Mayor Michael Mignogna, who gives a video introduction describing the Web site.

Calls come into the Economic Development office every day, Marchitto said, in reference to the Web site and different properties available throughout the township.

“We’ve had inquiries from retailers, land developers, hoteliers. A gentleman wanted to create a funeral parlor for pets; it runs the whole gamut for any type of business,” he said. “We see those come through and I’m working with them to find available spots in town.”

Several businesses have been opened in Voorhees through this Web site, Marchitto said. Retail space is being filled and the rental community is being supported as well.

To learn more about the Web site, visit VoorheesProspector.com.