Ayden Rail Site Earns ElectriCities Smart Sites Designation


RALEIGH, N.C. — ElectriCities of North Carolina, Inc., has designated a 374-acre Smart Site in Ayden, North Carolina, a public power community. The designation guarantees that the prime industrial rail-served site has met stringent requirements and is shovel-ready for new development.

“Smart Sites® designation takes the guesswork out of an industrial site, expediting development for new and expanding businesses,” said Carl Rees, ElectriCities Manager of Economic and Community Development. “That’s especially valuable with the shorter lead times that are becoming common for industrial projects.”

Local and state officials join Ayden Mayor Steve Tripp to debut and celebrate Ayden’s new Smart Site on Friday, Dec. 8, 2023.

“During the certification process, the ElectriCities team performs exhaustive due diligence, including environmental reviews, geotechnical reviews, preliminary infrastructure studies, and facility siting studies, readying the site for industrial permitting at local, state, and federal levels,” Rees said.

The stand-alone industrial site in Ayden has the added benefit of having a CSX rail line on-site. Plans are underway to develop a rail-served industrial building pad through funding secured from the North Carolina Railroad Company. The overall site can accommodate more than 2 million square feet of industrial space.

Located on NC-11 South, the new Ayden Smart Site is approximately:

  • 5 miles from Pitt Community College
  • 12 miles from East Carolina University
  • 15 miles from Pitt-Greenville Airport

The Town of Ayden supplies the site’s electricity and water, and Greenville Utilities Commission is the site’s natural gas provider.

ElectriCities created the Smart Sites program in 2014 to help its public power member communities—cities and towns that own and operate their electric systems—prepare shovel-ready sites for economic development. Potential sites must meet specific requirements and undergo an extensive review process by site selection experts. Each site must have municipal electric service, have water and sewer access within 500 feet, and be within 5 miles of an interstate or interstate-quality highway. ElectriCities markets Smart Sites at trade shows and industry events around the world to get the word out about prime development sites in North Carolina public power communities.

“We are so appreciative of the opportunities that the ElectriCities Smart Sites designation has opened up for the Ayden Rail Site,” said Kelly Andrews, Pitt County Economic Development Director. “As this is the only rail site under development in Pitt County, the Smart Sites program has made it possible to submit for the many leads that have come our way requesting a rail-served site.”

Since public power communities own their electric system, they maintain local control and decision making over their operations, providing unbeaten reliability, local jobs, and support for their local economy. That local control also means public power communities have more resources and agility when negotiating with prospective businesses.

“This site will prove to be a great asset for all of Eastern North Carolina,” said Mallory Denham, Economic Development Director for the Town of Ayden.

To learn more about Ayden’s new Smart Site, contact Mallory Denham at 252-481-5831 or ElectriCities at sites@electricities.org.

ElectriCities Smart Sites are located in public power communities across North Carolina. See the complete list of Smart Sites on the ElectriCities website. To learn more about the Smart Sites program or economic development in public power communities in North Carolina, contact Carl Rees at crees@electricities.org or visit http://www.electricities.com/EconDev.

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