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Duke Energy helping assess, market 600 acres in Rowan

Duke Energy has selected a large tract of land in Rowan County to be assessed and marketed for industrial development, according to a press release the company sent out Thursday.
The release says 600 acres of privately owned land, located about one mile east of Interstate 85 along Long Ferry Road, will be assessed to find out the site’s readiness for development.
Robert Van Geons, executive director of RowanWorks Economic Development, said the assessment is about putting together a plan for the future of the property. He said it’s a “top-to-bottom shakedown” of the site itself and his agency’s ability to market the site.
At the end of the study, the county will know the best uses for the land, Van Geons said. What types of buildings can be built on the site and where money needs to be spent for improvements, such as extensions of water and sewer lines, will also be revealed through the study.
The process is part of Duke Energy’s Site Readiness Program — designed to help communities served by the company compete for new business, according to the release. The company has hired consulting firm McCallum Sweeney to conduct a study of the site and work with the county.
“You’ve basically got the best people in the business saying ‘This is where you’re at’,” Van Geons said.
When the site is ready, Duke Energy will have its industry recruiters market the site, the release states.
Van Geons said other properties in the county have been through the program. One site, along I-85, is now certified by the state for industrial development. He said it’s a “marathon, not a sprint” when it comes to land development.
“When you do this, you go in and find out that what appeared as an easily developable site might have challenges,” he said.
Lisa Parrish, a spokeswoman for Duke Energy, said the program will be a “jump start” for the county. She said Duke Energy pays for the cost of the assessment.
Counties have to apply for the program at the beginning of the year, Parrish said. Since the program started in 2005, 123 sites in the Carolinas have been assessed, and 14 sites have won “major” projects, she said.

Contact reporter David Purtell at 704-797-4264.

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