September 11, 2020

Sites in Burke, Catawba counties chosen for development program

Two Unifour sites are among six selected statewide by Duke Energy for participation in its 2020 Site Readiness Program to enhance the readiness of the sites for business and industrial development.

The program has helped prepare properties that have won 23 major projects in North Carolina since the program started in 2005, resulting in more than 5,650 new jobs and almost $6.4 billion in capital investment.

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

“Our Site Readiness Program has been highly successful and a valuable tool for our partners and communities across the Carolinas,” said Stu Heishman, Duke Energy’s vice president of economic development and business recruitment. “Our team works with local and regional partners to develop a strategy to advance the readiness of selected sites and recruit national companies to the Carolinas. We have strong relationships with our state and local partners, and leverage the expertise of nationally recognized consultants to maximize the impact of the program.”

Burke County has one of the local sites.

The Hickory Airport Industrial Site offers a unique opportunity for any company that needs direct access to a commercial airport. The airport offers a runway that will soon exceed 7,000 feet and has the amenities needed to handle commercial air travel. The site itself is more than 150 acres (with land inside the airport fence and immediately adjacent to the airport), has an abundance of infrastructure capacity already in place and can handle multiple structures to meet most industrial needs. The site has direct access to U.S. 321 and is within 4 miles of Interstate 40.

Catawba County has the other local tract. The SE Catawba County Business Park, a 55-acre site, is just off of N.C. 16 and N.C. 150. The park is 30 minutes from the Charlotte Douglas International Airport, making it ideal for development as a corporate headquarters, a light manufacturing facility, a research and development center or a mixed-use residential and commercial development. Electrical, water and sewer infrastructure are available at the site, and natural gas lines run within 2,000 feet.

The other four sites are:

  • Nash County: The 142-acre N.C. 97 Industrial Site on Interstate 95 is an ideal location for advanced manufacturing, food processing and logistics companies. The county-owned site is strategically positioned on the eastern seaboard between New York and Miami with accessibility to major markets and supply chains. Nash County’s N.C. Tier 1 ranking designates the site as a high priority location for state incentives. The site is in a Foreign Trade Zone and provides convenient access to three sea ports, Carolina Connector-CSX intermodal rail terminal, regional airport and Raleigh-Durham International Airport.
  • Edgecombe County: The 76-acre Bulluck Tract South Site is an hour east of Research Triangle Park and the Raleigh-Durham International Airport, and just minutes from Interstate 95. Within an easy two-hour drive from ports in Wilmington and in Norfolk, Virginia, the site features more than a half-mile of CSX mainline rail frontage, is adjacent to the CSX Rocky Mount Terminal and is less than 10 miles from the new CSX Carolina Connector Intermodal Terminal. With abundant utilities in place, including Duke Energy Progress distribution and transmission lines on site, the site is ideal for industrial manufacturing and distribution.
  • Granville County: The Century 21 Site is a 194-acre tract off Interstate 85 near Oxford. The site has excellent frontage and access to the interstate and is within a 45-minute drive of the Research Triangle Park and the Raleigh-Durham International Airport.
  • Lee County: The Lee Brick Site is a 321-acre tract in Sanford. The site features rail frontage on Norfolk Southern Railroad track and offers good access to U.S. 1. It is within a 45-minute drive of the Research Triangle Park and the Raleigh-Durham International Airport. Sanford is also centrally located between Raleigh, Durham and Fayetteville.

Duke Energy worked with major site selection firms, including Global Location Strategies, Strategic Development Group and Site Selection Group, to evaluate the 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 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 its annual list of “Top Utilities in Economic Development.” Through these efforts, Duke Energy helped recruit $3.3 billion in capital investment in North Carolina and more than 4,200 jobs for the state in 2019.

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