The next big industrial sites in York, Lancaster, Chester counties? Duke picked these

Two sites are about to become business ready.

Duke Energy announced Tuesday it will invest in four new South Carolina sites. One is an industrial site near the airport in Lancaster County. Another is an Interstate 77 site in Chester County.

Duke’s site readiness program looks for sites with high development potential and partners with local officials to fund what’s needed to market them as industrial sites. Since 2005 the program pumped nearly $1 billion into 15 South Carolina projects. Those properties have generated more than 2,600 new jobs.

“Economic development is a team sport and we are a key position player – working with many local and regional partners throughout the economic development process to achieve success,” said Stu Heishman, Duke’s vice president of economic development.

Lancaster County knows the deal. Last year Duke picked 400 acres along U.S. 521. Duke helped develop a plan for water, sewer, gas and electricity to the site. The Lancaster County site this year is near the airport, rating high for infrastructure and interest from aerospace companies that could benefit from a 6,000-foot runway.

“Lancaster County looks forward to working with the owners in the industrial development of the property and greatly appreciates Duke Energy for selecting the site for evaluation,” said Jamie Gilbert, director of Lancaster County Department of Economic Development.

In Chester County, the Steele property is 724 acres near two I-77 exits. Between Charlotte and Columbia, it offers access to a workforce of 1.2 million people.

Duke will work with county leaders on site-specific strategies to get the sites ready for market. Site leaders are eligible to apply for a $10,000 matching grant. Duke worked with several site selection firms to come up with its project list.

“Investment readiness doesn’t happen overnight and requires a commitment to identify, assess and prepare sites in order to attract capital investment and jobs,” said Didi Caldwell, founding principal of site selection firm GLS. “Through Duke Energy’s Site Readiness Program, communities throughout its service territory are reaping the rewards of the journey that will have lasting impact for generations to come.”

According to Duke, the company helped recruit $1.8 billion in capital investment and more than 3,900 jobs in South Carolina in 2018.

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John Marks covers community growth, municipalities and general news mainly in the Fort Mill and York County areas. He began writing for the Herald and sister papers in 2005 and won dozens of South Carolina Press Association and other awards since.
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