Charleston is now a global destination for business. The rankings and awards pouring into our area prove it. Brookings Institute, Forbes Magazine, CNN Money, Under 30 CEO and the Milken Institute are just some of the national and international business publications taking notice of our metro excelling in job creation, talent recruitment and entrepreneurship.
Yet we cannot sit on our success. Our region has to maintain an aggressive, global approach to economic development and the changing needs of job creators. As major investors in the Charleston Regional Development Alliance (CRDA) and one of the contributors of private money, we, the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors (CTAR), like the direction, focus and results our regional economic development organization is providing and believe our organization and region are getting a solid return on investment.
That is not to say there are not changes that could be made, but we believe they should be made from within the existing framework - and not by creating a separate entity. The economic development game has changed - it's not as simple as jobs and investment. It's about talent retention, workforce skills and cultivating an understanding of Charleston as a global business destination.
The CRDA, like us, is a regional organization that can analyze data, drive strategic initiatives and create narratives that sell the Charleston Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) as one strong, unified region instead of a fractured, three-entity piece with limited resources.
The shift toward focusing on bringing more private financial resources to the table with the goal of effectively marketing and enhancing the economic development of our region should be cheered by our county governments.
At the heart of all economic development deals is one key piece - land. Land has to exist in order to bring any jobs to Charleston.
That is the beginning of all commerce - whether it's to manufacture goods, produce a service or run a company from a corporate office.
As representatives of those who own the land geared toward economic development, the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors believes deeply in economic development and, most importantly, that there is a key place for the both the private sector and the public sector in setting the stage for economic growth and encouraging the economic prosperity of our region.
Realtors are firsthand witnesses of the impacts of both economic successes and failures.
Our commercial members work with businesses to find usable space or land - while helping them navigate all the hurdles the government and others may put in their way. Our residential members recall when the Charleston Naval Base closed almost 30 years ago and the devastating impact it had on housing and families.
Today, Charleston is not only leading the state, but the country out of a recession. Our economy is bouncing back, housing sales and prices have stabilized to a sustainable growth rate, and jobs are being created as unemployment has declined.
We can't assume all these things have happened without the ongoing efforts of the CRDA.
As an organization, we invest in and support the CRDA and will continue to do so.
The CTAR believes that the CRDA is the key partner in ensuring the success, stability and economic viability of our region going forward.
Wil Riley is the chief executive officer of the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors.