Calling economic development “a team sport,” Duke Energy Florida recently revealed five properties which it considers optimal for this year’s Site Readiness Program, giving each the green light for industrial development from St. Petersburg.
Duke annually selects properties deemed worthy of development after consulting with local economic development experts and leaders to ensure infrastructure supports such as water, sewer and utilities before proceeding. Duke Energy works with Greenville, South Carolina-based McCallum Sweeney Consulting to evaluate eligible site potential.
Duke’s Site Readiness Program has provided regional initiatives spanning several Florida counties with backing and growth opportunity since 2013. This year’s geographically diverse recipients include the BKV Technology Center at the Brooksville Tampa Bay Airport (owned by Hernando County); Sunny Oaks Technology Campus in Marion County; Central Florida Business Park in Osceola County; Airco Aviation Business Center in Pinellas County, and the Smyder Property, a 94-acre parcel in the City of Alachua in the Gainesville region.
Recipients expressed varying degrees of excitement at the news, including Greater Osceola Partnership for Economic Prosperity’s director Bill Martin, who called it “a tremendous asset for us” and Pinellas County Economic Development director Mike Meidel, who termed it “a remarkable opportunity.”
Marc Hoenstine, economic development director for Duke Energy Florida, emphasized “having the right talent or labor force” along with locating a site or building meeting a firm’s needs as top factors in predicting success for new business.
"Economic development is a team sport," Alex Glenn, Duke Energy Florida state president, said. “We are focused on supporting the cultivation and attraction of high-level, high-wage jobs and capital investment … and our smart grid will provide clean and reliable energy service to help those companies continue to grow in our state."
In 2015, Duke Energy helped to attract over $285 million in capital investment and create more than 1,870 jobs in Florida.
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