The Real Deal Miami

Duke Energy pushes development in Central Florida

The North Carolina-based utility company wants business parks in Alachua and Marion County

July 24, 2016 09:00AM

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Duke Energy has about 1.7 million Florida customers.

Duke Energy has about 1.7 million Florida customers.

Electric utility Duke Energy is trying to expand its customer base in Central Florida by promoting the development of business parks there.

Charlotte, North Carolina-based Duke has about 1.7 million customers in its 13,000-square-mile service area in Florida.

The utility company has identified two locations with good potential for development as business parks: 94 acres in the City of Alachua and 456 acres midway between Ocala and Gainesville.

The owner of the Alachua site agreed to work with Duke.

The 456-acre site is located near Interstate 75 in Irvine, a community in unincorporated Marion County. The land is zoned for up to 500 homes and commercial development on as many as 300 acres.

Kevin Shelly, president and CEO of the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce, told the Gainesville Sun,“Any piece of property that sits on I-75 and has the advantage of being halfway between Gainesville and Ocala has opportunities.”

Duke has used an internal site-readiness program to evaluate over 200 locations in its six-state service area and to lure $3.6 billion of capital investment.

After identifying promising locations, Duke works with local government officials to extend water, power and sewer services to the sites. Duke’s program also includes national marketing of business parks. [Gainesville Sun]Mike Seemuth