Virtual tours a new tool in attracting businesses

Businesses around the world can now see potential sites via the internet.
Businesses around the world can now see potential sites via the internet.
The view of a large building from the virtual tour.
The view of a large building from the virtual tour.

Written by: Eileen Jones - bio | email
Posted by: John Shryock - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Bringing more jobs to Montgomery just became a little easier. If a company is interested, all it has to do now is log on to the internet.

Through virtual tours businesses can see just about everything its want to know about possible locations in the capital city without leaving their chair.

A group of business exit a bus and head into a brick building, spending at least part of their days thinking of new ways to entice companies to move Montgomery and to bring more jobs with them.

With the help of the Montgomery Chamber of Commerce they now have a new tool - virtual tours.

"Why this is so important," explains Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange, "is it gives us and anybody else that will be doing this in the state of Alabama a leg up."

Searching through virtual reality is already used for home sales, but this is a first in Alabama showing industrial or business locations to potential buyers or tenants in far away places. Please like "Seoul, Korea or Tokyo, Japan or Frankfort, Germany..." Strange said.

One cavernous building with high ceilings located near Bell Road and the Troy Highway leaves nothing to the imagination on the virtual tour.

"It is actually," said Taylor Williams of Power South Energy when asked if the building looked they he thought it would in reality. "I was a little skeptical at first, but the building showed very well and we think other clients when they look at this building will feel the same way."

There were once almost 200 employees inside the building. The company moved when it downsized and developers and utility companies that service some of the buildings want to fill them up again.

"The virtual tool was excellent. It gives you a good idea of the buildings before you even go look at the facility," said Ken Novak of Alabama Power Eco Development. He said he had no disappointments from the virtual to real inspection.

Montgomery County is in on the project too. "I think it's going to be a great thing, great tool, and we'll stop seeing a lot of these boarded up buildings," explained County Commission Chairman Elton Dean.

There is no cost for viewing a virtual tour, but there is a cost for putting your location on the website. It's $750. The city and the county say that's cheap compared to the cost of advertising the old fashion way with signs and flyers, over a long period of time.

You can see five of 26 empty locations in Montgomery on the web site. Click the link in the Associated Links section of this page.

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