Florida communities benefit from Duke Energy's 2021 Site Readiness Program, designed to attract jobs, spur economic development

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  • Alachua, Pinellas counties selected for program.

  • Program has resulted in 680 new jobs, $183 million in capital investment in Florida since 2013.

  • 34 properties evaluated to date.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Duke Energy Florida has selected Alachua and Pinellas counties for inclusion in its 2021 Site Readiness Program to evaluate and prepare industrial site opportunities for economic development investments.

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.

“Through the challenging economic environment over the last couple of years, Duke Energy Florida has remained committed to the vitality of the communities we serve,” said Melissa Seixas, Duke Energy Florida president. “The overarching goal of the Site Readiness Program is to increase the quantity and quality of developable sites within Duke Energy’s service territory, in partnership with various government and private sector organizations, thus encouraging new capital investment and creating additional jobs within the state.”

Florida has been adding jobs at a remarkable rate in 2021. The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity continues to report added jobs to the state, with Duke Energy playing a supporting role in many of the economic development wins.

Inside each site

Duke Energy works with major site selection firms to evaluate sites, including Site Selection Group in this year’s program. Ardurra Group’s Ocala and Tampa engineering offices will support the program with buildable area studies and conceptual drawings. 

Based on consultant recommendations, Duke Energy will collaborate with county leaders and local economic development professionals to develop a strategy for marketing the sites.  

After each site’s state of readiness has advanced, Duke Energy’s national business recruitment team strategically markets them nationwide to companies looking to expand or relocate their operations.

Alachua County – City of Alachua Industrial Site

The 52-acre site is on U.S. Highway 441, just 4 miles east of Interstate 75. About 20 minutes north of Gainesville and the University of Florida, this site is strategically located in the city of Alachua. The city is home to a robust biotech community including developments such as Progress Park, UF Innovate | Sid Martin Biotech Institute and the Santa Fe College Perry Center for Emerging Technologies. The site has electric, water, wastewater and gas to the southern boundary and the potential to have CSX rail service. The site is suitable for a variety of industrial users with a focused effort to attract businesses in the construction and related services, life sciences and food and agricultural production sectors.  

"The Greater Gainesville Chamber is extremely honored to work with the Duke Energy Site Readiness Program because it showcases the partnerships we have in the Greater Gainesville region," said Staci Bertrand, Greater Gainesville Chamber vice president of economic development. "We have real estate assets here that are ready to be utilized for economic development purposes and this program provides value to the property owner and our regional partners." 

Pinellas County – SSI: Community

Duke Energy is working with Pinellas County on a focused community revitalization project to identify potential real estate assets favorably positioned for project investment. An extension of Leotta Location and Design’s Strategic Sites Inventory (SSI) Program, SSI: Community is a localized property inventory program dedicated to neighborhood revitalization and economic growth.  

The program relies on a comprehensive approach of evaluating a wide variety of factors essential to stimulate renewed community investment to strengthen economic vitality. The objective of SSI: Community is to provide decision support for complex community redevelopment strategy planning based on objective, apolitical data analysis and mapping. This project is managed by Leotta Location and Design (LL+D) and is expected to have initial results by the end of December 2021.

“We are excited to partner with Duke Energy and LL+D to help provide us a road map to focus our efforts in redeveloping older industrial sites for highest and best use locations to help us attract jobs and capital investment to benefit the future growth of Pinellas County,” shared Dr. Cynthia Johnson, director of Pinellas County Economic Development.  

“As a result of the tremendous interest in these sites and the opportunities they present in Duke Energy’s Florida footprint, next month the company will continue the expansion of the Site Readiness Program with additional staff and resources who can offer more support to our customers and communities,” said Marc Hoenstine, Duke Energy Florida managing director of economic development.   

Economic impact

For more than 100 years, Duke Energy has powered Florida and its economy through significant business recruitment and retention programs.

Duke Energy’s economic development efforts are perennially recognized by Site Selection magazine in the publication’s annual list of “Top Utilities in Economic Development.”

Here is a behind-the-scenes look into one of those wins: New steel plant in Florida is built with innovation | Duke Energy | illumination (duke-energy.com).

The company’s 2020 economic impact in Florida was extensive, including:  

  • Duke Energy Florida contributed $138 million in property taxes to local governments.
  • The company provided more than $4.5 million in charitable grants through community impact initiatives in Florida focused on K-12 education, nature, workforce and economic development.
  • Duke Energy employees and retirees contributed $934,000 to Florida nonprofits through volunteer hours and financial donations.

The Site Readiness Program has resulted in 680 new jobs and $183 million in capital investment in Florida since 2013.

In Florida alone, the Duke Energy Economic Development team has helped attract 306 companies since 2001, drawing more than 46,000 new jobs and nearly $4.5 billion in capital investment to the state.

Duke Energy Florida

Duke Energy Florida, a subsidiary of Duke Energy, owns a diverse generation mix of natural gas, coal and renewables, providing about 10,200 megawatts of owned electric capacity to approximately 1.9 million customers in a 13,000-square-mile service area.

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 7.9 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky, and collectively own 51,000 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 27,500 people.

Duke Energy is executing an aggressive clean energy strategy to create a smarter energy future for its customers and communities – with goals of at least a 50% carbon reduction by 2030 and net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The company is a top U.S. renewable energy provider, on track to own or purchase 16,000 megawatts of renewable energy capacity by 2025. The company also is investing in major electric grid upgrades and expanded battery storage, and exploring zero-emitting power generation technologies such as hydrogen and advanced nuclear.

Duke Energy was named to Fortune’s 2021 “World’s Most Admired Companies” list and Forbes’ “America’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: Ana Gibbs
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