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Three Florida counties selected for Duke Energy's 2019 Site Readiness Program that spurs economic development and jobs
Properties in Sumter, Highlands and Lake counties announced, boosting prime industrial sites in Florida service area to 26

RELEASE DATE: June 18, 2019

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., June 17, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- When communities grow and thrive, everyone benefits. That's the principle behind Duke Energy's Site Readiness Program, which aims to increase the number of competitive industrial sites in the company's service territory. This year, locations in Sumter, Highlands and Lake counties have been selected, bringing the number of diverse Florida sites chosen for the program to 26 since its launch in the state six years ago.

Duke Energy partners with communities and site selection experts to identify and evaluate locations within its 35-county Florida service territory. The sites ultimately chosen for the program provide the greatest potential for attracting businesses and bringing new jobs to the area.

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

2019 Selected Sites 

Sumter County

The Governor 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," said Frank Calascione, Sumter County's economic development director. "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 pre-emptively answer the many questions involved in a site's development, all stakeholders are in a better position to advance the project."

Highlands County

The North Highlands Industrial Site is 123 acres and near the recently announced Nucor Corporation's micro-mill steel rebar facility, just north of the Highlands County line.

"Highlands County is excited and honored to be selected by Duke Energy to participate in their Site Readiness Program and for the opportunity to work with Global Location Strategies," stated Meghan DiGiacomo, business development manager, Highlands County Economic Development. "The site with CSX mainline rail in north Avon Park is centrally located and poised for industrial development opportunities, particularly with the incoming neighbor to the north, Nucor Steel Florida."

Lake County

This 115-acre site is located east of the Christopher C. Ford Industrial Park, which is recognized as the most successful park in Lake County.

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

Next Steps

Duke Energy is working with Global Location Strategies, based in Greenville, S.C., 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, Fla., engineering office will support the program with buildable area studies and conceptual drawings for each site evaluation.

After each evaluation is completed, the property and its attributes are strategically marketed nationwide to companies seeking to expand or relocate their operations.

Site Readiness Program Wins

Within Duke Energy's subsidiaries in the Carolinas, Florida, 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 program was recognized by Southern Business and Development magazine as one of the "South's Top 10 Site Programs" and was noted as one of the main reasons the company has been consistently named as one of the nation's "Top 10 Utility Economic Development Programs" by Site Selection magazine.

For more information about Duke Energy's economic development programs, or to inquire about available project-ready sites, visit duke-energy.com/economic.



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Tiffany Henderson
Lead Public Information Officer

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