CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Duke Energy Progress has chosen a 1700-acre mega-site in Chatham County, N.C., to participate in the utility's 2013 Site Readiness Program.
Strategically located west of Siler City off Highway 421 and south of Interstate 85, this large parcel of undeveloped land will undergo a comprehensive assessment for possible large-scale industrial recruitment.
Duke Energy's Site Readiness Program is designed to help communities served by the utility compete for new companies and jobs.
"This site has the potential to put Chatham County on a fast track for economic development," said John Geib, Duke Energy's economic development director for Chatham County. "It's an enormous amount of land — about the size of the Charlotte Motor Speedway. That's the size necessary for a large-scale manufacturing company or automotive project."
As part of the six-month assessment, Duke Energy has hired McCallum Sweeney, a nationally known consulting firm, to conduct a site study. McCallum Sweeney has been instrumental in many high-profile automotive relocations and expansions.
Duke Energy will work with professional land-use planners to develop conceptual plans for the site. Duke, McCallum Sweeney and the planners will present all recommendations at a final report meeting in Chatham County.
"It's a big boost to our efforts to have Duke Energy on our economic development team," said Dianne Reid, president, Chatham Economic Development Corporation. "Western Chatham County, including Siler City, has lost more than 3000 jobs since 2006. Having Duke Energy's professional assessment and input will get the industrial site ready to market nationwide."
Duke Energy's economic development team forges strategic relationships with prospective industries nationally and globally.
"However, our competitive edge comes from knowing our customers," said Stu Heishman, Duke Energy's vice president of economic development. "We have strong relationships with the local communities we serve like Siler City and Chatham County. We understand the needs of those areas and work to find the right the industries and businesses to meet those needs."
Duke Energy's program has been recognized by Southern Business & Development Magazine as one of the South's top site readiness programs. Duke Energy's overall economic development program has also been consistently named by Site Selection Magazine as one of the nation's "Top 10 Utility Economic Development Programs."
More than 35 counties submitted applications for Duke Energy's Site Readiness Program in North Carolina and South Carolina.
The Chatham County site is one of 10 North Carolina sites chosen by the utility.
Ideal properties for Duke Energy's site readiness program are 75 acres or larger, served by the utility. A qualified site can be best suited either for a single, large industrial facility, data center, or for a potential industrial park (multi-tenant site).
For more information about Duke Energy's economic development programs, visit www.considerthecarolinas.com
Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., 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.