A 400-acre property in Lancaster County is being primed for industrial development.
"This is a very good industrial site," said Jamie Gilbert, director of the Lancaster County Department of Economic Development.
Duke Energy has chosen four sites, including the Lancaster County property, for its site readiness program.
The goal is to pick areas where industrial businesses might thrive, and to work with county and local economic development experts to develop a plan for providing water, sewer, natural gas and electricity to those properties.
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Other sites include dairy and airport locations in Guilford County, N.C., combining for more than 500 acres, and 80 acres along I-85 in Cherokee County.
The Lancaster County site isn't easy to describe.
"Nothing's on this property," Gilbert said. "It's just land."
But what is near the property intrigues economic developers.
It's along U.S. 521 with easy access to Charlotte, via a four-lane highway. More than 300 acres of the property are contiguous. A work force of more than 700,000 people is located within a 45-minute drive, access to I-77 is 15 minutes away and the airport in Charlotte is less than an hour by car.
A small mobile home park was once located on the site, at the U.S. 521 and Lewis McAteer Road intersection. The site is about four miles north of Lancaster.
Gilbert said the site has good topography for development, and it's large enough to buffer industry from surrounding neighborhoods. It will be a challenge getting sewer lines out to the site. Those types of development concerns are why the Duke involvement is so helpful.
"Several of our existing industrial sites have been evaluated through the program," Gilbert said. "Those assessments have provided us with critical information on the development potential of these properties and allowed us to better position them for future industrial development."
Duke will work with county and local leaders on the four sites, which will be eligible for $10,000 matching grants from Duke to help attract projects.
Duke's recruitment team will help market the sites to companies when improvements have been made. Duke said it helped recruit $1.7 billion in capital investment and more than 2,600 jobs in South Carolina last year.
Since 2005, the site readiness program has partnered with 29 projects, resulting in more than 6,200 new jobs and almost $7 billion in capital investment.
"Economic development is a team sport, and we are a key position player — working with many local and regional partners in different capacities throughout the economic development process to achieve success," said Stu Heishman, vice president of economic development with Duke.