In 2015, San Francisco commercial real estate rates had reached all-time highs, surpassing Manhattan as the priciest in the United States. Neighboring communities Oakland and Silicon Valley weren’t far behind due to a surge in demand from the tech sector coupled with limited space. Companies needed options, as both small and emerging companies were most feeling the squeeze.

Concord, California, a job- and housing-centric East Bay suburb, recognized it could compete with affordability, transportation accessibility and a no-drama business-friendly economic development office. Plus, Concord’s revitalized historic downtown was attractive to businesses and residents alike, which enables the city to provide a better fit for Bay Area businesses and their millennial workforce. The city saw that taking that message to market would attract new economic development opportunities.

Concord’s Economic Development Office teamed with local advertising and public relations agency AMF Media Group to coordinate a strategic promotional plan that included public relations, a targeted advertising campaign and a revitalized economic development website: To demonstrate that the city truly is “A Better Fit for Business,” the team secured earned media coverage in business- and real estate-focused media outlets featuring Concord entrepreneurs in a variety of industries — from craft beer to manufacturing technology startups. The same entrepreneurs served as ambassadors who spoke to the messages portrayed in the advertising campaign and in testimonial videos displayed on the website.

Public relations efforts kicked off in September 2015, followed by the launch of an innovative advertising campaign in March 2016.

In the wake of the campaign the city saw or facilitated many new openings and relocations. The projects, which number more than 40 over the past year, involve office absorption, build-to-suit, and spec development, including the following notable projects:

  • Wells Fargo (285,000 sq. ft. multi-office consolidation of approximately 2,200 employees)
  • Veranda Retail Center (375,000 sq. ft. of new retail development)
  • Golden State Lumber (74,000 sq. ft. owner/builder new development)
  • The Moulding Company (35,000 sq. ft. owner/builder expansion to a new location within Concord)
  • Conco Commercial Building (56,000 sq. ft. spec warehouse)
  • Renaissance Square Apartments (179 new units)
  • Bay Alarm (66,000 sq. ft. headquarters relocation and renovation)

The main contact for “Concord: A Better Fit for Business” is Brian Nunnally, business development manager, City of Concord, California. He may be reached at 925-671-3018 or via email .