CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Duke Energy has selected five North Carolina properties for participation in its 2014 Site Readiness Program to prepare the properties for potential industrial development.
- The 72 Rail site, 257 acres of former farmland located in Robeson County, near Lumberton, one hour from the Port of Wilmington
- The Chocowinity Industrial Park site, 246 acres of undeveloped property south of Little Washington in Beaufort County
- The Havelock Business Park site, located in Craven County near the Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point and the Fleet Readiness Center East. The land is being prepared for potential suppliers who repair military aircraft.
- The Marks Creek site, 99 acres of undeveloped land in Hamlet. The proposed Richmond County industrial park is located on N.C. Hwy. 177 near the Richmond County Airport.
- The Shannon Farm site located in Union County. Planners will be assessing a prime piece of real estate that has excellent rail capabilities and interstate access.
The Site Readiness Program is the cornerstone of Duke Energy's economic development model. It identifies, evaluates and improves industrial sites in the companys service territory to help communities served by the utility compete for new companies and jobs.
Duke Energy has hired McCallum Sweeney Consulting, a nationally known consulting firm, to conduct site studies. McCallum Sweeney has been instrumental in many high-profile automotive and industrial relocations and expansions.
One of the most important considerations for large industrial customers is the price of electricity. Duke Energy provides affordable, reliable and increasingly clean electricity. Duke Energy's rates are competitive regionally and well below the national average.
"Since mid-2009, when the current economic recovery began, the 15 states with the lowest power prices gained 80,000 manufacturing jobs. North Carolina is one of those states," said Stu Heishman, Duke Energy's vice president for economic and business development. "On the flip side, the 15 states with the highest power prices lost 120,000 jobs."
Duke Energy will collaborate with county leaders and local economic development professionals to develop a strategy for the Site Readiness Program properties. An inventory of the sites' assets such as water, sewer, rail, natural gas and electricity will be conducted.
The parties also will recommend road improvements, easements and rights of way that will be required to develop the sites, as well as steps necessary to mitigate any potential environmental impacts. Duke Energy will present its findings including a detailed report and conceptual drawings to county officials when the studies are completed.
After each site's state of readiness has advanced, Duke Energy's business development team will strategically market each of them nationwide to companies looking to expand or relocate their operations.
"We are pleased to have these five counties in the program. Since the Site Readiness Program began in 2006, Duke Energy has evaluated 114 sites in the Carolinas," said Heishman. "We've been successful. So far, we've won 12 major projects on those sites, resulting in approximately 2,100 jobs and approximately $2.9 billion in capital investment."
Ideal candidates for Duke Energy's Site Readiness Program are 75 acres or larger and served by the utility. A qualified site can be suited for a single, large industrial facility or data center, or a potential industrial park (multitenant site).
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."
For more information about Duke Energy's economic development programs, visit 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 duke-energy.com.