Duke Energy boosts industrial sites in Lake and Sumter counties

lake-county-logoLake and Sumter counties have been chosen for Duke Energy’s Site Readiness Program, which identifies sites that provide the greatest potential for attracting businesses and bringing new jobs to that area.

Duke Energy partners with communities and site selection experts to evaluate locations within its 35-county Florida service territory, a news release states. After the sites are chosen and evaluated, they are strategically marketed nationwide to companies seeking to expand or relocate their operations.

Within Duke Energy’s subsidiaries in Florida, the Carolinas, Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky, the Site Readiness Program has resulted in 41 major project wins since 2005. These industrial projects are expected to produce 9,200 new jobs while spurring more than $7.6 billion in capital investments, the release states.

In Lake, the chosen site is 115 acres east of the Christopher C. Ford Industrial Park, which is considered to be the most successful park in Lake County, the release states.

“Understanding a site’s strengths and shortcomings is critical for attracting quality economic development projects,” Tracy Garcia, director of Elevate Lake Economic Development, says in the release. “This property is in one of Lake County’s hottest areas poised for exponential growth, where U.S. Highway 27, State Road 19, and Florida’s Turnpike converge, and Duke Energy’s Site Readiness Program will help to identify essential infrastructure that is needed for successful recruitment of targeted industries.”

The site in Sumter, the Gov. Rick Scott Industrial Park, includes 431 acres and is adjacent to Interstate 75 and the CSX Railroad.

“Partnering with Duke Energy on the site readiness study for this large industrial site in Sumter County is a tremendous opportunity to position it for rapid development,” Frank Calascione, Sumter’s economic development director, says in the release. “With an enviable list of attributes including rail, water, sewer, fiber, and natural gas, the site is perfect for industrial development. However, by taking the opportunity to preemptively answer the many questions involved in a site’s development, all stakeholders are in a better position to advance the project.”

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Duke Energy also selected a site in Highlands County, bringing the number of Florida sites chosen for the program to 26 since its launch in the state six years ago.

“Our Site Readiness Program is a long-term investment in local people and vibrant communities,” Elizabeth Godwin, Duke Energy’s site readiness program manager, says in the release. “Coupling competitive sites, prime for development, with effective workforce strategies leads to successful projects that transform lives through new jobs and benefits communities with added tax revenues.”

Duke Energy is working with Global Location Strategies, based in Greenville, South Carolina, to evaluate the properties. Global Location Strategies helps manufacturing and industrial companies find locations for projects with intensive capital, labor, energy, and water requirements. Ardurra Group’s Tampa engineering office will support the program with buildable area studies and conceptual drawings for each site evaluation.

For more information, visit duke-energy.com/economic.

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