Northern Kentucky Tri-ED, the economic development organization serving Boone, Campbell, and Kenton counties, helps identify properties for future industrial projects, including by partnering with Duke Energy with its Site Readiness program, which was launched to help communities proactively assess and prepare properties for development.
Through this program launched in 2010, Duke Energy hires a national site selection consultant to perform robust evaluations, data-gathering, and analysis on selected properties which have the potential for future industrial development. The consultant then prepares a comprehensive report that recommends site improvements and target industries to attract.
Dallas-based Site Selection Group has most recently been hired by Duke Energy as the national consultant participating in the Site Readiness program.
Duke Energy also hires a local engineering firm to perform an environmental analysis of the site and prepare conceptual drawings for developable acreage. Bayer Becker has worked with Duke Energy for the Site Readiness program since the program’s inception in Ohio and Kentucky.
Through the Site Readiness program, all of these entities work together to identify potential property for industrial development and/or redevelopment, assess the strengths and weaknesses of the property, recommend how to mitigate weaknesses, and assist with marketing “build-ready” sites in order to create jobs and economic opportunity.
Without these “build-ready” sites, Northern Kentucky will struggle to attract new companies to the area and can’t as easily assist existing companies with expansions.
“We’re really looking at sites that are large tracts of land ripe for potential industrial development, moving such sites through this program, hopefully closer to being fully marketable,” said Rhonda Whitaker Hurtt, vice president of community relations for Duke Energy Ohio & Kentucky. “We partner with Tri-ED and REDI locally to prioritize the sites that meet the criteria for inclusion in the program.”
Since 2011, Duke Energy has worked with Tri-ED to evaluate more than 15 Northern Kentucky properties with the potential for industrial or large commercial development.
- The most recent property evaluated, in 2022, was the Southern Campbell County Industrial Park, consisting of 40 acres located in Claryville. This site boasts many positives, including good highway access, Tyson Foods as a corporate neighbor, and close proximity to Northern Kentucky University and the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG).
- In 2020, two sites in Walton were chosen. Walton-North is a 20-acre site in Boone County. Bayer Becker concluded the site could accommodate three buildings ranging from 20,000-30,000 square feet. Walton-South is a 48-acre site in Kenton County. This site was determined to possibly be suited for one corporate user with a 220,000-square-foot building. Both sites are located close to I-75 and I-71 and ideal for advanced manufacturing operations.
- Twenty-eight acres in Wilder owned by Rumpke was included in the program in 2015. This site, now owned by Neyer Properties, is available for industrial, manufacturing, or distribution use. It is located 15 minutes from CVG and features a potential barge loading/unloading area along the Licking River. Economic incentives are available from the City of Wilder and State of Kentucky.
Since 2010, 37 sites in Ohio and Kentucky have been evaluated through the Site Readiness program, and more than one-third of these sites have been developed, and others are being actively marketed.
Christine Russell is Vice President of Strategy at Northern Kentucky Tri-ED. Through Tri-ED’s Build + Elevate NKY campaign, Russell is working to activate the Northern Kentucky Port Authority, one of four initiatives developed by Tri-ED to continue work toward increased community prosperity.
Activating the Port Authority involves identifying, controlling, preparing, and promoting sites for private commercial and industrial development and redevelopment.