CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Duke Energy Progress has chosen a 260-acre tract off Byrd's Mill Road in Bunnlevel, N.C., to participate in the utility's 2013 Site Readiness Program to prepare the location for potential industrial development.
Duke Energy's Site Readiness Program is designed to help communities served by the utility compete for new companies and jobs.
"The Mastin-Baker site in Harnett County is a clear standout. Unlike most undeveloped sites we typically see, this one already has access to electricity, gas, telecommunications and rail service," said John Nelms, Duke Energy's economic development manager for Harnett County. "Combine that with the comprehensive assessment offered by our Site Readiness Program and this location will be quite attractive to the right industry."
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 industrial locations 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 Harnett County.
After the site's state of readiness has advanced, Duke's Business Development Team will actively market the site nationwide to companies looking to expand or relocate their operations.
"Rail sites are very limited in this state. That makes the Mastin-Baker site particularly valuable. However, until it was chosen for the Duke Energy Site Readiness Program, we did not have the resources to complete the due diligence required to market the site," said Phyllis Owens, director of the Harnett County Economic Development Commission.
More than 35 counties submitted applications for Duke Energy's site readiness program in North Carolina and South Carolina.
The Harnett County site was one of 10 North Carolina sites chosen by the utility.
Harnett County has 11 percent unemployment.
"We are committed to boosting the local economy in Harnett County. Since our merger with Progress Energy, we have been focused on our new service area in the eastern part of the state," said Stu Heishman, Duke Energy's vice president of economic development.
"Duke Energy's approach to economic development is unique in the utility industry. Our enterprisewide team identifies and proactively recruits large national and international companies to our service areas," said Heishman.
Ideal properties for Duke Energy's site readiness program are 75 acres or larger, served by the utility. A qualified site can be suited either for a single, large industrial facility, data center, or potential industrial park (multi-tenant 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 the 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 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.