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Cleco certifies Bunkie site as a SmartSite

Jun 28, 2012

Cleco® SmartSites speeds business development and expansion and helps create jobs

PINEVILLE, La. - Cleco Power's Business Development department continues to certify properties that are prime for development as it brings a 148-acre site in Bunkie's Industrial Park into its SmartSites portfolio.

The SmartSites program develops Cleco communities by attracting business, creating jobs and supporting existing business development efforts. Cleco SmartSites are certified by McCallum Sweeny Consulting and meet site-readiness criteria, which reduces risks to business and industry and increases speed to market.  McCallum Sweeney Consulting is one of the leading site selection and consulting agencies in the nation.

"Through our SmartSites program, we are identifying properties that are highly marketable and running them through one of the strictest property evaluations conducted by one of the leading site selection companies in America," said Keith Crump, senior vice president of commercial operation. "Once a property is certified as a SmartSite, it moves up on the list of prospects because business and industry recognize the value of having a thorough assessment of a property's strengths and risks.  We couldn't be happier to add this site in Bunkie as our third SmartSite location."

The Bunkie site is located near I-49 and close to Acadiana Rail.  Cleco's first SmartSites is a 350-acre site located at the Natchitoches Port.  Evangeline Parish Industrial Park in Ville Platte houses Cleco's second SmartSite location.

Cleco started the SmartSites program in 2010 with a list of sites for McCallum Sweeney to assess.  The properties at the Bunkie Industrial Park, the Evangeline Parish Industrial Park and the Natchitoches Port have completed the evaluation process, which includes a thorough appraisal of the site's strengths and challenges, helping to speed the business development process.

"As businesses look to grow, they want to locate properties that are easily permitted, contain no surprises and have available or accessible infrastructure," said Mark Sweeney, senior principal with McCallum Sweeney.  "We essentially identify all of the things that are important to business and industry so that they know up front what a piece of property offers."

"There is a pressing need to identify and cultivate more available industrial sites in Louisiana. We are delighted by Cleco's efforts to aggressively build site inventory with their new SmartSites program, as this program will closely align with our own efforts to expand the number of quality sites available in Louisiana," said Stephen Moret, secretary of Louisiana Economic Development. "As we work together and add more SmartSites to the Louisiana inventory, I am confident that we'll see more projects and more announcements in Cleco's service territory."

"Having our site certified as a SmartSite will help us attract the attention of business and industry on a national level," said Bunkie Mayor Mike Robertson.  "As we work to grow our city, parish and central Louisiana, the certification will help move us to the top of a prospect's list as we showcase the value Bunkie has to offer an expanding business. The SmartSites certification gives assurance and peace of mind to industry that there is less risk involved in locating in our industrial park with a faster startup.  It also gives the citizens in our community hope for the future of much needed jobs coming to our area."