Kristina Slattery
Kristina Slattery
Business Development

Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development

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Andy Beshear
Old Capitol Annex
300 West Broadway
Frankfort, KY 40601
Jeff Noel
For Immediate Release
Brandon Mattingly

Gov. Beshear: New Build-Ready Site in Marshall County Adds to State’s Growing Commitment to Site Development

Infrastructure upgrades provide speed-to-market advantages to prospective businesses

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Aug. 2, 2023) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear highlighted the continued momentum of the commonwealth’s site development and speed-to-market initiatives with the announcement of a new build-ready site in Marshall County.

“The only way we are going to continue our historic economic momentum is by staying proactive and continuing to invest in site development throughout Kentucky,” said Gov. Beshear. “The work we are doing right now is paving the way for even more businesses and companies to locate in the commonwealth, bringing quality jobs and opportunities for communities across the state. I want to thank local leadership in Benton and Marshall County as well as regional and state officials who helped make this site certified and ready for business.”

The new site will include a 120,000-square-foot building pad on over 240 developable acres and will be zoned and developed for heavy industrial use. The development has four-lane highway access available from U.S. Highway 641 adjacent to the site. The highway also provides access to Interstate Highway 69, which is just over two miles north of the site, and Interstate Highway 24, which is 13 miles northeast of the site.   

All utilities, including true fiber redundancy, are available at the site. The site is in the Tennessee Valley Authority service region and is served by West Kentucky Rural Electric.

In 2020, the site was selected for funding through the pilot Product Development Initiative (PDI) program, which was established in 2019 and provided nearly $7 million in state funding for 20 site and building development projects statewide. Through the efforts and results of the pilot PDI program, the Kentucky Product Development Initiative (KPDI) was established last year after Gov. Beshear and the General Assembly approved $100 million in funding for KPDI during its regular 2022 session.

Kevin Spraggs, Marshall County Judge/Executive, is excited to bring future economic growth to the community through the build-ready program: “Seeing Kentucky’s program grow throughout the last few years, it has been my hope for a long time to be able to drive economic development in Marshall County. With Southwest One now being the most western-certified build-ready site, the possibilities are endless. Availability is the first step to development, and our community has so much to offer. We are committed to growth, and I can't wait to see where this new opportunity takes us.”

Rita Dotson, mayor of the city of Benton, noted the importance of this project in bringing business opportunities to the city and surrounding region: “The certification of this build-ready site marks a momentous achievement in our efforts to foster economic progress. By streamlining the development process and eliminating hurdles, we are sending a clear message that our county is open for business, innovation and future opportunities.”

Treston Smith, chairman of the Marshall County Industrial Development Authority, highlighted the advantageous location and resources of the region, paired with the new build-ready site, that will foster future economic opportunities: “Southwest One’s geographic location offers a powerful trifecta-access to quality education, a skilled and motivated workforce and exceptional transportation accessibility. With educational institutions like Murray State University, WKCTC and the UK College of Engineering in Paducah, we have a pool of talented and skilled individuals readily available. The park also enjoys seamless connectivity to major transportation arteries, with close proximity to I-24 and I-69 just two miles away. This exceptional accessibility allows new and existing businesses access to regional and national markets and is an attractive advantage for industries seeking a strategic hub for their operations.”

Elizabeth Griffith Mudd, president of Kentucky Lake Economic Development, thanked local, regional and state entities who helped make this site a reality: “Developing a build-ready site is not the task of a single entity, but rather the result of a community working together to pave the way for progress. I am grateful for the unwavering support of our local leadership and our state and regional partners who recognize the importance of site development and the role it plays in bettering our community.”

With a build-ready site, much of the work, aside from construction, has already been completed. That includes controlling the land to be developed, completing archaeological, environmental and geotechnical studies, constructing a building pad, finishing preliminary design work, obtaining approved site plan permits and putting necessary infrastructure in place. On a build-ready site, construction can begin immediately.

To be build-ready-certified, a site must include a pad ready to accommodate a building of 50,000 square feet with the ability to expand to 100,000 square feet or more, and utilities extending to the site’s edge. Applicants, usually a city, county or economic development group, must have previously filed the necessary permits, as well as preliminary building plans, cost estimates and schedule projections. Applicants also are asked to provide a rendering of a potential building for the site.

Including the new site in Benton, the commonwealth is home to 22 active build-ready sites. Multiple other locations across the state are currently working toward certification.

To date, eight former build-ready-certified sites, including tracts located in Butler, Graves, Hart and Laurel counties and four sites in Warren County, have been selected by companies for new location projects, allowing companies to bring their operations online in a cost-efficient manner while creating jobs for local Kentuckians.

Last month, Gov. Beshear highlighted a major recent win for the program, as Aerospace Composites Solutions (ACS), a comprehensive composite design and manufacturing company focused on boosting aircraft performance and capabilities, broke ground on Butler County’s first site with a $16.8 million expansion and relocation project that will create 72 new full-time jobs in the area.

The new Marshall County site furthers recent economic momentum in the commonwealth.

Gov. Beshear recently announced that his administration secured the largest General Fund budget surplus and Rainy Day Fund, as well as the most jobs filled in state history.

The General Fund budget surplus at the end of fiscal year 2023 was more than $1.55 billion. Nearly all of the $1.55 billion surplus will go into the commonwealth’s Rainy Day Fund, bringing the fund to a record balance of $3.7 billion – a 2,700% increase since Gov. Beshear took office in 2019.

Gov. Beshear also announced an increase of 6,400 jobs filled, bringing the commonwealth to 2,015,600 filled jobs in June. That is a record number of nearly 60,000 more jobs filled than before the pandemic.

This year, the Governor announced that Kentucky set the record for the longest period with the lowest unemployment rates in state history. On May 18, Gov. Beshear announced that Kentucky set a new historic low unemployment rate of 3.7%, which is the lowest rate ever recorded in the commonwealth.

Since the beginning of his administration, Gov. Beshear has announced more than 870 private-sector new-location and expansion projects totaling approximately $26.8 billion in announced investments.

The robust job creation has been accompanied by rising wages across the commonwealth. The average incentivized hourly wage in 2022 was $26.78 before benefits, the second-highest mark since 2010 and an 11.5% increase over the previous year.

The Governor also secured the best two-year period in state history for economic growth and announced the two largest economic development projects in state history. In September 2021, Gov. Beshear and leaders from Ford Motor Co. and SK On celebrated a transformative $5.8 billion investment that will create 5,000 jobs in Hardin County. In April 2022, the Governor was joined by leadership at AESC to announce a $2 billion investment that will create 2,000 jobs in Warren County. These announcements solidify Kentucky as the EV battery production capital of the United States.

That position was strengthened even further in May 2023, when the Governor and leaders at Toyota announced a $591 million investment across multiple projects as the company’s largest manufacturing operation in Georgetown introduces its first battery electric vehicle. Growth within the EV sector continued into June as Gov. Beshear joined INFAC North America to break ground on the company’s $53 million investment to support EV-related production in Campbellsville.

Over a two-month period this year, Kentucky secured two credit rating increases from major agencies. On May 12, Gov. Beshear announced that his administration obtained the first state-level credit rating upgrade in 13 years and the first-ever upgrade from Fitch Ratings. On June 29, Gov. Beshear announced the commonwealth received its first-ever rating increase from S&P Global Ratings.

Site Selection magazine recently placed Kentucky first in the South Central region and top-5 nationally in its 2023 Prosperity Cup ranking, which recognizes state-level economic development agencies for their success in landing capital investment projects. The publication also placed Kentucky second nationwide and first in the South Central region for its annual Governor’s Cup ranking for 2022, which recognizes state-level economic success based on capital investments.

Gov. Beshear recently announced a new “Supply Kentucky” initiative with the goal of boosting job growth, reducing costs and providing more security in the supply chains of our Kentucky companies.

For more information on build-ready sites in Kentucky, visit

A detailed community profile for Marshall County can be viewed here.


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