LEESBURG — Duke Energy has finished the last step of the process in the Duke Energy Site Readiness Program for Lake County’s Florida Energy and Aerospace Technology (FEAT) Park, which in turn will advance the site for further development opportunities by businesses.
“We are very excited that Lake County’s FEAT was selected for the first Site Readiness location in Florida,” said Robert Chandler, director of Lake County’s Economic Development & Tourism Department. “This is a huge win for Lake County and gives us a tremendous asset to market our business-attraction efforts. We are very appreciative of Duke Energy and their support of our county's economic development.”
The Site Readiness Program is the cornerstone of the Duke Energy business-development team’s work. It is designed to identify, evaluate, improve and increase awareness of prime industrial sites in the company’s service territory. The goal of the program is to increase the inventory of industrial sites and to advance their state of readiness. Duke Energy selected McCallum Sweeney Consulting, a nationally recognized site selection consultant, to perform the evaluation of FEAT Park. During a recent public meeting with the Leesburg City Council, Lake County officials and other community leaders, as well as McCallum Sweeney Consulting, a detailed report was provided about the site’s viability and recommendations for improvement. Duke Energy later will service the park and its businesses with power.
“The conclusion of the Site Readiness Program does not end our commitment to the area,” said Alex Glenn, Duke Energy state president for Florida. “Duke Energy is committed to the City of Leesburg and Lake County for the long term. In addition to serving the site, we will be working to attract new industry and jobs to the area.”
According to Marc Hoenstine, economic development manager for Progress Energy Florida, FEAT Park was chosen after a comprehensive site inventory assessment of more than 60 sites. FEAT Park will be actively marketed to site selectors and corporate decision-makers this year. The site borders the interchange of Florida's Turnpike – a direct-access highway spanning much of the state – and Lake County Road 470.
“Florida as well as Lake County will benefit,” said Florida Secretary of Commerce Gray Swoope, who serves as president and CEO of Enterprise Florida, Inc., the state’s principal economic development organization. “This program is a progressive effort toward making communities more competitive and attractive for new industry and jobs. Even more, it’s in sync with our strategy for diversifying the state’s economy, which involves identifying and promoting communities’ marketable attributes for business recruitment.”
To learn more about the local program, navigate to www.leesburgflorida.gov/feat/index.aspx. For more information on Lake County economic development, visit www.businessinlakefl.com.