ST. PETERSBURG, FL. - When it's time to move, homebuyers look for just the right place to live. Business owners also have a checklist of things in mind when looking to relocate. Duke Energy has taken the lead in helping communities identify quality sites that will attract new and expanding business to their area. This results in new, high paying jobs in the community and investments that can lead to transportation improvements, support for schools, investments in community organizations and the diversification of the local economy.
Duke Energy has just completed the evaluation of industrial sites in Pasco, Polk and Sumter Counties through the company's Site Readiness Program, which helps advance prime parcels for industrial development opportunities. Duke Energy brought the program to Florida after successfully attracting businesses to other states where it operates.
During recent public meetings with the counties respective County Commissioners, City Council members and other community leaders, Duke Energy provided a detailed report about the level of readiness of the select site in each county.
"Duke Energy is committed to the economic growth of the communities we serve," said Alex Glenn, Duke Energy state president - Florida. "As their electric utility partner, we are dedicated to not only reliably serving the area but to working with the community to ensure it is in a position to attract new industry and jobs."
Over the past several months, Duke Energy in conjunction with each county's Economic Development Council, arranged for McCallum Sweeney Consulting, a nationally recognized site selection consultant, to conduct a thorough analysis of their site. The process began with an RFP that collected key information on the site followed by an in-depth meeting and site visit with local economic development officials. A separate engineering firm, HRP Associates, completed a buildable study and conceptual plan for each site.
The detailed report presented to local officials included a technical review outlining strengths, weaknesses and recommendations for next steps. "Attracting investments and jobs is more competitive than ever," remarked Mark Sweeney, principal of McCallum Sweeney Consulting. "It's not an easy process and takes a community-wide effort." Sweeney explained that your product is your community and everything about your community may be a factor that someone is considering and evaluating.
The report also featured a marketing evaluation and recommendations for target industries.
In Pasco County, the Zephyrhills Airport Industrial Park, located just north of the Zephyrhills Municipal Airport at County Road 54 and County Road 535, was selected to go through the program. Recommended industries for the 442-acre site include aerospace, light industrial/assembly and plastics.
"We are grateful for our partnership with Duke Energy and excited to have been selected for this program," said John Walsh, vice president of the Pasco Economic Development Council. "It's an excellent opportunity for us to promote Zephyrhills and Pasco County to the rest of the world that were a leading contender for investments and jobs."
In Polk County, the 472-acre Pebble Ridge Site is located at the northwest corner of U.S. Highway 27 and U.S. Highway 98 in Frostproof, Fla. Recommended industries include aerospace, distribution, general manufacturing and plastics.
"Participating in the Duke Energy Site Readiness Program elevated one of the many development opportunities in Polk County," said David Petr, president and CEO of the Central Florida Development Council. "Our vision for Pebble Ridge Industrial Park mirrored the results determined by the McCallum Sweeney team. I would encourage other property owners to exercise this marketable level of real estate preparedness for any serious consideration from site selectors."
In Sumter Country, Monarch Ranch, strategically located between I-75 and the Florida Turnpike in Wildwood, was also selected for the program. Recommended industries for the 3,345-acre site include food processing, logistics/distribution and plastics.
"The site readiness program provided by Duke Energy not only invigorated the land owners to move forward with further investments in their property but also provided a template of readiness for other industrial-zoned properties in Sumter County," said Bradley Arnold, Sumter County Administrator.
For more about the Duke Energy's Economic Development initiatives, including the Site Readiness Program, visit https://www.duke-energy.com/economic-development/economic-development.asp.
Duke Energy Florida
Duke Energy Florida owns coal-fired and natural gas generation. That diverse fuel mix provides about 9,000 megawatts of owned electric capacity to approximately 1.7 million customers in a 20,000-square-mile service area.
Duke Energy is the largest electric power holding company in the United States with approximately $115 billion in total assets. Its regulated utility operations serve approximately 7.2 million electric customers located in six states in the Southeast and Midwest. Its commercial power and international energy business segments own and operate diverse power generation assets in North America and Latin America, including a growing portfolio of renewable energy assets in the United States.
Regionally headquartered in St. Petersburg, Fla., Duke Energy is a Fortune 250 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available at: www.duke-energy.com/Florida.