Duke Energy Progress and its Site Readiness Program could be economic development project

Last updated: April 21. 2014 6:05PM - 1919 Views
By Amanda Moss amoss@civitasmedia.com



Martie Butler
Martie Butler
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Duke Energy Progress has selected a 99-acre parcel of land in Hamlet to participate in the utility’s 2014 Site Readiness Program that aims to help market the site for a future development.


The Hamlet site is one of five that were selected by Duke Energy to participate in the program


The proposed industrial park is located near the Richmond County Airport on N.C. Route 177. The Mark’s Creek property is one of the few sites in Richmond County that has access to rail, natural gas, sewer and electricity. It is around two miles from the Richmond County airport and about a mile from the interstate. This large parcel of undeveloped land will undergo a comprehensive assessment for industrial recruitment.


The purpose of the program is to evaluate and improve industrial sites in the counties that Duke Energy serves. It is designed to help communities in economic development. The assessment in Richmond County will last six months.


Martie Butler, economic development and management analyst for Richmond County, said that the selection of the land in Hamlet was strategic because it may help utilize the many railways that currently exist in the city.


“We have a ton of rail, but hardly any rail site,” Butler said. “What this plan will do is it will give the site exposure to help bring companies into the area.”


Duke Energy has hired a well known national site selection consulting firm, McCallum Sweeney Consulting, to conduct studies at the sites selected. Once the firm conducts a study, feedback will be available to the county on how to make the site as ready for industry as it can be.


“Companies are always looking for sites that are shovel ready,” Butler said. “Having a site that is ready shows our due diligence in trying to bring industries here and ultimately to create more jobs in the area.”


Since Duke Energy implemented the Site Readiness Program in 2006, it has evaluated 114 sites in the Carolinas.


“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,” said Stu Heishman, Duke Energy’s vice president for economic and business development, in a news release.


Duke Energy’s business development team forges strategic relationships with prospective industries nationally and globally.


“We work to find the right industries and businesses to meet the needs of the communities we serve,” Heishman said.


Butler said that as of now the county isn’t targeting any particular industry, but to make it open for any well-fitting industry to use.


“The team from Duke Energy will come in sometime next month,” Butler said. “From there the team will make recommendations to make the site more marketable. It will definitely give the county as a whole more exposure.”

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