Duke Energy’s Site Readiness Program brings economic development benefits to four Florida communities

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  • High-potential business, industrial sites in Franklin, Highlands and Marion counties selected for 2022 program

  • Since 2013, program has resulted in 680 new jobs, $183 million in capital investment in Florida

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Duke Energy Florida today announced it has identified four locations in Franklin, Highlands and Marion counties for inclusion in its 2022 Site Readiness Program to evaluate and prepare industrial site opportunities for economic development investments.

“Duke Energy Florida is committed to powering the lives of our customers and the vitality of our communities,” said Melissa Seixas, Duke Energy Florida state president. “Through the Site Readiness Program, we continue to work closely with various government and private sector organizations to bring new jobs and capital investment to the state of Florida. We are proud of this program’s initial success and we will continue to offer economic development initiatives that bring value to the communities we serve.”

Through the Site Readiness Program, Duke Energy identifies high-potential sites and partners with county officials, local economic development professionals and landowners to develop a strategy for getting sites fully ready to market to industrial prospects. In Florida alone, the Site Readiness Program has resulted in 680 new jobs and $183 million in capital investment in Florida since 2013.

Inside each site

Duke Energy works with major site selection consulting firms as well as top engineering and land planning groups to conduct a holistic and comprehensive site analysis based on site-specific data, market trends and organizational support.

Based on consultant recommendations and after each site’s state of readiness has advanced, Duke Energy will collaborate with county leaders and local economic development professionals to develop a strategy for marketing the sites nationwide to companies looking to expand or relocate their operations.

Below are the 2022 site selections based on the results and recommendations from the program’s final reports.

  • Franklin County – Airport Industrial Park

The site is strategically located in the Florida Panhandle along the beautiful shores of the Gulf of Mexico in Apalachicola. The 636-acre site offers three runways and 100 acres of industrial land ready for development. Nearby industries include agriculture, commercial and manufacturing companies. With zoning in place and utilities available that include water, sewer, fiber and ample electric capacity, the airport is ready for a new aviation or industrial tenant interested in establishing a home in north Florida.

“The Duke Energy Site Readiness Program has been a great asset to Franklin County’s economic development efforts,” said Ricky Jones, chairman of the Franklin County Board of County Commissioners. “We look forward to Duke Energy’s assistance in advancing the readiness of the Apalachicola Regional Airport site, as well as helping us strategically market the site to companies looking to expand or relocate their operations in northwest Florida.”

  • Highlands County – Avon Park Airport & Industrial Park

The site is strategically located within the city of Avon Park in Highlands County and sits equidistant between the rapidly growing Tampa and Orlando metro markets. The 438-acre site offers two runways, with another 314 acres adjacent to the main parcel for expansion opportunities. Located near state Highway 27, the site offers utilities at or near the development areas and easy access via significant arterial roads. Nearby industries include agriculture, commercial and manufacturing companies. The site is suitable for traditional airport-related activities as well as a variety of commercial and industrial users with a focused effort to attract businesses in the construction and related services, life sciences, and food and agricultural production sectors. 

  • Highlands County – Lake Placid Business & Industrial Park

The 370-acre site located in south-central Florida is uniquely situated equally between the Orlando, Miami and Tampa markets, serving all three markets within a 90-minute or less drive. The site offers easy logistical access as it is adjacent to state Highway 27 and offers more than 1 mile of active rail line. Offering ample water, wastewater and electric capacity, the property would be ideal for manufacturing- and distribution-related businesses that serve the neighboring major metros.

"Highlands County is an ideal location to attract and grow businesses, thanks to its central location, growing population, low operating costs and dedicated workforce,” said Chris Campbell, chairman of the Highlands County Board of County Commissioners. “We are proud to have not one but two sites selected as part of Duke Energy’s Site Readiness Program, and we’re grateful for the team’s expertise and technical support as we work to enhance the readiness of our sites, attract key industries and create higher-paying jobs in Highlands County.”

  • Marion County – Baseline Commerce Park

The site is located in Ocala, a prime manufacturing and distribution powerhouse district that is centrally located within the state of Florida. The site offers 151 acres plus an additional 90 acres for expansion opportunities. Geographically, the property offers easy logistical access as it is near state Highway 35 and I-75, and it offers an active rail line bordering the east side of the property. Ample water, wastewater, natural gas, fiber and electric capacity surrounding the property offer future tenants a variety of utility solutions. The site is suitable for manufacturing- and distribution-related industrial users and currently has similar businesses within close proximity.

"The Ocala Metro CEP’s engagement with Duke Energy’s Site Readiness Program has been an extremely valuable partnership,” said Kevin Sheilley, president and CEO of the Ocala Metro Chamber and Economic Partnership. “As a result, we look forward to welcoming our next major industrial user to the community.”

For 18 consecutive years, Duke Energy’s economic development efforts have been recognized by Site Selection magazine in the publication’s annual list of “Top Utilities in Economic Development.” Since 2001, the Duke Energy economic development team has helped expand or attract 325 companies to Florida, drawing more than 48,000 jobs and over $5 billion in capital investment to the state.

Duke Energy Florida

Duke Energy Florida, a subsidiary of Duke Energy, owns 10,300 megawatts of energy capacity, supplying electricity to 1.9 million residential, commercial and industrial customers across a 13,000-square-mile service area in Florida.

Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), a Fortune 150 company headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is one of America’s largest energy holding companies. Its electric utilities serve 8.2 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky, and collectively own 50,000 megawatts of energy capacity. Its natural gas unit serves 1.6 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky. The company employs 28,000 people.

Duke Energy is executing an aggressive clean energy transition to achieve its goals of net-zero methane emissions from its natural gas business by 2030 and net-zero carbon emissions from electricity generation by 2050. The company has interim carbon emission targets of at least 50% reduction from electric generation by 2030, 50% for Scope 2 and certain Scope 3 upstream and downstream emissions by 2035, and 80% from electric generation by 2040. In addition, the company is investing in major electric grid enhancements and energy storage, and exploring zero-emission power generation technologies such as hydrogen and advanced nuclear. 

Duke Energy was named to Fortune’s 2022 “World’s Most Admired Companies” list and Forbes’ “World’s Best Employers” list. More information is available at duke-energy.com. The Duke Energy News Center contains news releases, fact sheets, photos and videos. Duke Energy’s illumination features stories about people, innovations, community topics and environmental issues. Follow Duke Energy on TwitterLinkedInInstagram and Facebook.

Media contact: Audrey Stasko
Media line: 800.559.3853
Twitter: @DE_AudreyS