Is your site ready? That was the topic at the NCEDA Networking Lunch on last month. Crystal Morphis moderated a panel discussion focused on site readiness, specifically the three programs in North Carolina to qualify and certify industrial sites.
The panel included John Geib, Director of Economic Development with Duke Energy, and Austin Rouse, Research Analyst and Certified Sites Program Coordinator with the Economic Development Partnership of NC. Crystal kicked-off the program by giving an overview of the history of site qualification in North Carolina, best practices from other states, and making the case for communities investing time and resources on site readiness. She said that “after workforce development, product development is the local developer’s number one challenge.”
Each of the programs has similar goals to identify development hurdles in order to address them in advance; thereby, reducing risk for the client/prospect. Each participant gave an overview of their program.
- John Geib discussed the Duke Site Readiness Program which is intended to identify, assess, improve, and increase awareness of industrial sites in the Duke Energy region. Duke Energy uses a third-party evaluation to rigorously examine a site’s development potential.
- Austin Rouse gave an overview of North Carolina’s program which is designed to provide a statewide inventory of industrial sites that have undergone a rigorous pre-qualification process. He discussed recent changes and updates to the program, steps for recertification, and return on investment.
- On behalf of ElectriCities, Crystal gave an overview of the Smart Sites Program (S2), a shovel-ready site qualification program designed to support economic development opportunities in NC Public Power communities.
All of the panelists agreed that the real value in site qualification or certification is the body of information and assessments performed during the process. This information is what answers the unknowns for a client.
If you want to know if your site is a candidate for one of these programs, use our online site assessment tool, CreativeSiteAssessment.com. It is a quick way to determine if you should make the investment in qualifying a site.