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Web site tracks city demographic data

Susan Wood

When acquisitions departments for national chains such as Kinko’s search for new locations, they’re looking for statistics to back up their inquiries.

In Kinko’s case, a population base of 50,000 is but one factor in locating on the South Shore, which touts a population closer to 40,000.

Through a one-year pilot program, the city launched an Internet mapping tool under http://www.gisplanning.com, where companies seeking a location in South Lake Tahoe can get demographic information on the area, including: sex, age, net worth, labor force and size of household. More than 18 databases are polled and combined to support the application.

The city contracted with GIS Planning of San Francisco for setup of the Zoom Prospector program in the amount of $17,700 under the direction of city Economic Development Coordinator Camden Collins.

“We have a high vacancy rate here, and the council wanted to do something about it,” she said.

From this, the city can substantiate how much commercial floor space is necessary to meet the demand in the town.

Since the May 1 launch, she’s signed on with three real estate companies to provide data on commercial properties in town and needs more companies to participate.

“The site will help inform and convince corporate real estate executives around the country of the dynamic business opportunities to be found only in South Lake Tahoe,” said Peggy Eichhorn, a commercial broker with Coldwell Banker, McKinney & Associates. Aspen Realty and Century 21 have joined the list.

A user may call up a property, and the program will show all the businesses within a one-mile radius and break them down in classifications.

From there, the search may include transportation venues and incorporate the data called up onto a computer program like Excel. A user may also e-mail the data.

The program indicates how many hits – defined as successful requests – companies make to the Web site link. In almost two months, the city has received 1,248 hits.


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