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Columbia Business Monthly

Duke Energy Site Readiness Program Results in More Than 2,600 Jobs Across South Carolina

Aug 28, 2019 11:46AM
 Duke Energy has selected four properties in South Carolina for participation in its 2019 Site Readiness Program to enhance the readiness of the sites for business and industrial development.

The Site Readiness Program has helped prepare properties that have won 15 major projects in South Carolina since the program started in 2005, resulting in more than 2,600 new jobs and nearly $1 billion in capital investment.

Through the program, Duke Energy identifies high-potential sites and partners with county officials and local economic development professionals to develop a strategy for getting the site fully ready to market to industrial projects. 

“Economic development is a team sport and we are a key position player, working with many local and regional partners throughout the economic development process to achieve success,” said Stu Heishman, Duke Energy’s vice president of economic development. “We have a specific focus on site readiness, industrial recruitment and working together with our state and local partners. The Site Readiness Program is a great tool for communities across the Carolinas to help close deals.”

The locations include:

  • Chester County: The Steele Property is a 724-acre property in Chester County located on a four-lane divided highway with easy access to two exits on I-77. The site is ideally suited to a wide range of manufacturers with its excellent transportation infrastructure, robust utilities and close proximity to both Charlotte and Columbia, each providing access to a civilian workforce of 1.2 million.
  • Florence County: The Dargan Site is located in a business area of Florence. Infrastructure is in place that makes this a great site for the right industry.

“Duke Energy is a strong ally for the Florence County Economic Development Partnership and assists with economic development efforts in many ways, the Site Readiness Program being one of them,” said Florence County Economic Development Director Joe W. King. “Acceptance into the Site Readiness Program helps set Florence County sites apart from others by ensuring due diligence and quality. Duke Energy’s national presence combined with its emphasis on economic development makes it feel like an extension of our own team.”

  • Greenwood County: The Emerald Industrial Site is a 177-acre property in Greenwood County within 25 miles of both I-26 and I-385, with direct immediate access to four-lane highways. Greenwood County boasts a modern and diverse economic base. About 26 percent of the local workforce is dedicated to manufacturing.
  • Lancaster County: The Airport Industrial Site presents a tremendous opportunity for future industrial development. It rates well for size, infrastructure, access and topography. The property is well suited for aerospace companies that would need access to an airport with a 6,000-foot runway but is ideal for a variety of manufacturers.

“Lancaster County looks forward to working with the owners in the industrial development of the property and greatly appreciates Duke Energy for selecting the site for evaluation,” said Jamie Gilbert, director at the Lancaster County Department of Economic Development. 

Duke Energy worked with major site selection firms to evaluate the sites, including Global Location Strategies (GLS), Strategic Development Group, Site Selection Group and Quest Site Solutions. 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.

“GLS and Duke Energy have a shared mission of making communities investment ready in order to create long-term, sustainable success,” said Didi Caldwell, founding principal of GLS, a site selection firm based in Greenville, S.C. “Investment readiness doesn’t happen overnight and requires a commitment to identify, assess and prepare sites in order to attract capital investment and jobs. Through Duke Energy’s Site Readiness Program, communities throughout its service territory are reaping the rewards of the journey that will have lasting impact for generations to come. We are pleased to play a role in advancing them along the investment readiness journey.”

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

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 $1.8 billion in capital investment in South Carolina and more than 3,900 jobs for the state in 2018.