Public docs: Not just for finding public construction projects

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Because Curate scans through public minutes and agendas, one of the biggest misconceptions people have is we only find information on upcoming public construction projects, such as a new firehouse or town hall.

But, this isn’t the case!

While it is true public construction ops pop up in discussions during public municipality meetings, about 80 percent of the projects we get info on each week are actually private construction opportunities.

Think about it this way: All exterior projects have to go through a planning commission to get approved — everything from facade renovations to ground-up construction.

This means Curate is at the bottleneck of all early-stage projects, both public and private.

Minutes and agendas are sprinkled with what we call “half-baked” information, such as rezoning from agricultural to commercial or a request for approval of a site plan that’s 56 acres.

More often than for public projects, this information indicates upcoming private construction projects.

But, it’s easier for early-stage private projects to go unnoticed before it’s too late, i.e. before a contract has been awarded, which is why this “half-baked” information is super valuable for detecting them, like a canary in a coal mine.

You can’t spot the canaries, however, if you aren’t at their level — the actual board meetings, that is.

Planning commissions across your state approve dozens of plans for new private construction projects every week, from manufacturing facilities to business-park offices to apartment complexes.

For example, just this past week, Curate found 18 large-scale (>20,000 square feet) multi-family, multi-use, retail and office projects in the Minneapolis planning commission minutes.

These private projects were completely new in our database, meaning it was the first time the plans were discussed during that planning commission.

And since all projects go to local municipalities to get approval first, this also means the plans typically haven’t reached the eyes of newspaper readers or the ears of competing general contractors.

Lucky for us, our software spot the canary, and as the saying goes: Early bird gets the worm.