Duke Energy has selected six North Carolina properties, including one in Johnston County, for participation in the first half of its 2017 Site Readiness Program to prepare them for business and industrial development.
The Site Readiness Program has helped prepare properties that have won 11 major projects in North Carolina since the program started in 2005, resulting in more than 2,400 new jobs and $3.3 billion in capital investment.
Through the program, Duke Energy identifies high-quality industrial sites and partners with county officials and local economic development professionals to develop a strategy for providing water, sewer, natural gas and electricity to the properties.
“This program shines a light on high-quality industrial sites across the state, and enables communities, especially in rural areas, to attract jobs and build thriving economies,” said John Geib, North Carolina economic development director for Duke Energy. “We’re committed to continuing these efforts that help build stronger communities and ultimately, a stronger North Carolina.”
The locations include the 278-acre Roberts and Wellons site in Wilson’s Mills located on the NCRR/Norfolk Southern main rail line. Minutes from downtown Raleigh and the Research Triangle Park, this site has the potential to accommodate biotech manufacturing facilities as well as warehousing, distribution, refrigeration and other projects.
“Today’s companies want to move quickly on launching new locations, and that means being certain their technical requirements are in place,” said Chris Johnson, Director of the Johnston County Office of Economic Development. “The Duke Energy Site Readiness Program walks us through that process in a very valuable way, providing us access to influential site-selection consultants while also giving them exposure to Johnston County and the advantages we can offer their clients.”
Other sites include a 200 acre tract in Alamance County, 290 acres in Chatham County, 79 acres in the Craven County Industrial Park, over 530 acres near the I-295 and Highway 401 interchange in Cumberland County and a 278-acre parcel between Youngville and Franklinton in Franklin County.
Site consulting firm McCallum Sweeney Consulting will evaluate the six sites. Based on consultant recommendations, Duke Energy will collaborate with county leaders and local economic development professionals to develop an improved strategy for marketing these sites.
Additionally, each site is eligible to apply for a $10,000 matching grant from Duke Energy to help prepare it to attract projects.
After each site’s state of readiness has advanced, Duke Energy’s business development team strategically markets each of them nationwide to companies looking to expand or relocate their operations.
“We understand the important role our company plays in the economic development landscape, and we work diligently to keep our rates competitive,” Geib said. “North Carolina can better compete for business investment, growth and jobs with reliable electricity and affordable energy prices.”
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.” Through these efforts, Duke Energy helped recruit $2.2 billion in capital investment in North Carolina and more than 5,500 jobs for the state in 2016.