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Wake County Economic Development Site Assessment Program Kicks Off Second Phase

Uncovers 13 percent of unused land in Wake County for industrial development

RALEIGH, N.C. – Feb. 25, 2016 – Wake County Economic Development (WCED) officially kicked off the second phase of its Site Assessment Program this week. In the Program’s inaugural year, 5,000 acres of potential property for site development were uncovered across Wake County, equal to 13 percent of the county’s vacant land.

The Program engages private sector partners and local economic development professionals to identify and market “shovel ready” commercial and industrial sites across Wake County. Along with WCED, industry experts, including brokers, developers, architects and engineers, work with Wake County’s municipalities as well as the Research Triangle Park.

WCED is actively working on nearly 50 projects spanning the technology, life sciences and advanced manufacturing sectors with the potential of adding more than 8,000 jobs and investing $2 billion in Wake County if they were to relocate here. The Program offers prospective companies more options, making the county more attractive for economic development.

“Projects consider communities all over the world for their expansion or relocation, and this Program provides Wake County with more diverse, product-ready options so that we can be nimble and competitive with other regions,” said Ed Brown, broker at NAI Carolantic, Inc.

The first phase of the Program included a request for information (RFI) process where each municipality submitted an unlimited number of sites to be assessed through a proprietary site tool, which assigned a score based on three categories: utilities, transportation and site characteristics. WCED then divided the sites into three tiers based on score:

  • Tier 3 sites, the highest ranked, were given the opportunity to make a presentation to a group of private sector site development experts for feedback on the quality of the site and how to best market it.
  • Tier 2 sites were assigned a team of private sector service provider experts. The service provider team visited the site, assisted with due diligence recommendations, and made suggestions on how to enhance the site.
  • Tier 1 sites, with the lowest score, were given an RFI exercise to help them better gather information on the site. Economic development staff made recommendations for site improvements, similar to recommendations that would be made by a consultant or prospect.

“The Program helped us identify specific properties that we can focus on in order to yield the most ROI for our economic development,” said Joanna Helms, economic development director for the Town of Apex. “As a result of the Program, the Town of Apex is now in the process of certifying its first ever industrial site.”

The Program’s goal for the second phase is to continue strategic discussions around site readiness and ultimately to have at least one shovel-ready site in each community.

“The Program is generating great momentum across Wake County for shovel ready sites,” said WCED Executive Director Adrienne Cole. “It is so important that we have sites ready to go when companies are interested in relocating or expanding in our communities. I’m excited to be working with our public and private sector partners on this important initiative.”

For more information about the Site Assessment Program, contact Ashley Cagle, WCED Director of Talent and Product or (919) 664-7043.

About Wake County Economic Development (WCED)

Wake County Economic Development (WCED), a program of the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, is the primary economic development organization for Wake County and supports the economic development efforts of its 12 municipalities. WCED hosts clients evaluating Wake County for possible facility locations each year and facilitates dozens of corporate expansions, resulting in new jobs and capital investment for Raleigh and Wake County. For more information about WCED, visit


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