NAVASSA, NC (NEWS RELEASE) -- Duke Energy Progress has chosen a 220-acre tract along the Cape Fear River in Navassa to participate in the utility's 2013 Site Readiness Program to prepare the location for potential industrial development.
Duke Energy's Site Readiness Program is designed to help communities served by the utility compete for new investments and jobs.
"The Navassa site is a clear standout. Unlike most undeveloped sites we typically see, location is its strength. Not only does it have rail and water barge access on site, the Port of Wilmington is just 10 miles away," said John Nelms, Duke Energy's economic development manager for Brunswick County. "Combine that with the comprehensive assessment offered by our Site Readiness Program and this location will be quite attractive to the right industry."
As part of the four-month assessment, Duke Energy has hired McCallum Sweeney, a nationally known consulting firm, to conduct a site study. McCallum Sweeney has been instrumental in many high-profile industrial locations and expansions.
Duke Energy will work with professional land-use planners to develop conceptual plans for the site. Duke, McCallum Sweeney and the planners will present all recommendations to community leaders in November.
After the site's state of readiness has advanced, Duke Energy's Business Development Team will actively market the site nationwide to companies looking to expand or relocate their operations.
"We have tremendous workforce training assets in this area, which is a major advantage for companies looking for highly qualified workers. That makes the Navassa site particularly valuable. However, until it was chosen for the Duke Energy Site Readiness Program, we did not have the resources to complete the due diligence required to market the site," said Jim Bradshaw, director of the Brunswick County Economic Development Commission.
More than 35 counties submitted applications for Duke Energy's Site Readiness Program in North Carolina and South Carolina in 2013.
The Brunswick County site was one of 10 North Carolina sites chosen by the utility.
Brunswick County's unemployment tops the 10 percent mark as a number of industries have closed their doors.
"Economic development in North Carolina is a team sport. We work in collaboration with state and local communities to recruit new industries to the counties we serve," said Stu Heishman, Duke Energy’s vice president of economic and business development.
This month, Duke Energy's economic development program was named by Site Selection Magazine to its annual list of Top Utilities in Economic Development for 2013. It has held that prestigious title for more than a decade.
Ideal properties for Duke Energy's Site Readiness Program are 75 acres or larger, served by the utility. A qualified site can be suited either for a single, large industrial facility, data center, or potential industrial park (multi-tenant site).