Randolph site eyed for industrial development

Apr. 29, 2013 @ 04:34 PM

Duke Energy announced Monday that it will partner with Randolph County to offer a 200-acre site for future industrial development.
The site, which was described as former farmland, is north of Asheboro and west of U.S. 220. It will undergo a comprehensive assessment for possible industrial recruitment.
Duke Energy’s site readiness program is designed to help communities served by the utility compete for new companies and jobs.
“This site has tremendous possibilities,” said John Geib, Duke Energy’s economic development director for Randolph County. “For the next six months, we’ll assess its strengths for specific target industries. We’ve hired McCallum Sweeney, a nationally known consulting firm, to conduct a site study and our land-use planners will assess how feasible it is to build on the site.”
Duke Energy will collaborate with county leaders and local economic development professionals to develop a strategy for providing water, sewer, natural gas and electricity to the site, which is privately held.
The parties also will recommend road improvements, easements and rights-of-way that would be required to develop the site, as well as steps necessary to mitigate any potential environmental impacts.
Duke Energy will present its findings — including a detailed report and conceptual drawings — to county officials late this summer.
“We are always very happy to do business with successful companies like Duke Energy,” said Bonnie Renfro, president of the Randolph County Economic Development Corp. “Our property is a blank slate with a lot of great potential. We are looking for ideas and innovation from the site readiness program to help pull it all together and create new development and new jobs.”
More than 35 counties submitted applications for the program in North Carolina and South Carolina.
The Randolph site was one of 10 North Carolina sites chosen by the utility.
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.
The recent national recession significantly impacted Randolph County, where 11 percent of the workforce is unemployed.
“Duke Energy is committed to boosting economic development in Randolph County and all the counties it serves,” said Stu Heishman, Duke Energy’s vice president of economic development. “Our site readiness program has assumed additional importance due to the weak economy and increasing competition among states and regions to attract new companies and jobs.”
Ideal candidates for Duke Energy’s site readiness program are 75 acres or larger, served by the utility. A qualified site can be best-suited for a single, large industrial facility, data center, or a site well-suited for a potential industrial park (multi-tenant site).