Duke Energy targets five NC sites for industrial development
15 April 2014
By John Downey, Charlotte Business Journal
Duke Energy has chosen five North Carolina sites totaling almost 900 acres for its 2014 Site Readiness Program, including a 140-acre site in Union County.
The Duke team identified the undeveloped Shannon Farm site in Mineral Springs as an excellent candidate for the program because it has easy access to Interstate 77 and Interstate 85, both via Interstate 485, and it has access to a railroad line near the back of the property.
“The Shannon Farm site is a very important location that advances our goal to diversify the industrial base across all our communities,” said Chris Platé, executive director of Monroe-Union Economic Development. “Union County has excellent rail capabilities within its borders, and our office is preparing sites along the railways to best take advantage of this asset.”
The readiness program identifies, evaluates and improves industrial sites in Duke’s service territory to help local communities compete for new businesses and jobs. Duke has hired McCallum Sweeney Consulting, which has been instrumental in many high-profile automotive and industrial relocations and expansions, to conduct site studies.
The largest of the five sites Duke has chosen for this year’s program is a 257-acre site in Robeson County, about an hour from the port of Wilmington.
Next is the 246-acre Chocowinty Industrial Park site south of Little Washington. Then the 155-acre Havelock Business Park site near the U.S. Marine Corps' air station at Cherry Point. Duke says that land is being developed for companies that repair military aircraft.
The smallest is the 99-acre Marks Creek site in Hamlet, near the Richmond County Airport.
Charlotte-based Duke considers sites 75 acres or larger — and served by the utility — as prime candidates for its program, which operates in the six states where it has regulated utilities. A qualified site can be suited for a single, large industrial facility or data center, or for an industrial park.
“Since the Site Readiness Program began in 2006, Duke Energy has evaluated 114 sites in the Carolinas,” says Stu Heishman, Duke Energy’s vice president for economic and business development. “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.”
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.”
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