ASHEBORO — An industrial site in Sophia could soon be marketed nationally to companies seeking places to expand or relocate. A 170-acre tract on Wall Brothers Rd was selected by Duke Energy for inclusion in the utility company’s annual economic development program. Duke has selected nine properties in eight counties across North Carolina for inclusion in its 2021 Site Readiness Program to enhance the readiness of the sites for business and industrial development. Sites in Catawba, Durham, Guilford, Harnett, Henderson, Jones, Craven, Randolph and Rowan counties were selected.
Through the Site Readiness Program, Duke Energy identifies high-potential sites and partners with county officials and local economic development professionals to develop a strategy for getting the sites ready to market to industrial projects. In N.C., Duke has helped prepare 136 properties that have won 35 major projects since the program started in 2005. The program claims success in drawing more than 6,500 new jobs and nearly $7.5 billion in capital investment to the state.
“Despite the challenging environment through the pandemic, Duke Energy remained fully committed to economic development and our Site Readiness Program,” said Stu Heishman, Duke Energy’s vice president of economic development and business recruitment. “We are seeing a significant increase in project activity across the Carolinas, and demand for qualified industrial sites has never been stronger. Our team will continue to work with local and regional partners to aggressively advance the readiness of our prime industrial sites.”
In Randolph County, a future 170-acre industrial park located on Wall Brothers Road in Sophia, lies just north of Asheboro and just of Interstate 74. The site is easily accessible to major markets with its access to I-85 and I-40. Substantial on-site utilities include power, natural gas and water, and planning is underway to extend sewer to the site. With a flexible layout, this park can accommodate manufacturing and/or distribution buildings ranging in size from 50,000 square feet to 800,000 square feet.
“Being selected for the Duke Energy Site Readiness Program could not have come at a better time for Randolph County because the demand for readily available sites is more prevalent now than ever before,” said Crystal Gettys, business recruitment director for Randolph County Economic Development Corporation. “As Randolph County prepares to expand its inventory of viable industrial sites, the program provided the constructive guidance needed to move the development of our site forward with confidence. We are thankful to have been selected for this program and look forward to seeing the positive impact it will have on our community.”
Duke Energy worked with major site selection firms to evaluate the sites, including Global Location Strategies, Site Selection Group and Strategic Development Group. 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.