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 Jackson County Adds to State’s Growing Commitment to Site Development

Build-Ready program sees its first brownfield site designation

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Feb. 8, 2024) – 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 Jackson County, the program’s first designated brownfield site.

“We are building on the commonwealth’s historic economic momentum, and with that, we are continuing to build the foundation for even more growth in the years ahead,” said Gov. Beshear. “Build-Ready sites ensure companies have the infrastructure they need to start construction quickly and begin operation without costly delays that are often associated with new-location projects. This new Build-Ready site in Jackson County is yet another important step toward creating more quality jobs for Kentuckians.”

In May 2023, Jackson County was awarded funding through the Kentucky Product Development Initiative (KPDI) to turn a former industrial property into a Build-Ready site. The property was formerly home to the Mid-South Electronics facility that was lost to a fire in 2005, designating this site as the Build-Ready program’s first brownfield site. In addition to the Build-Ready requirements, the local community also produced several additional Phase I and Phase II Environmental Site Assessments through the Energy and Environment Cabinet’s Targeted Brownfield Assessment program and an intense geotechnical evaluation that cleared the site for further development.

The site includes a 140,000-square-foot building pad on nearly 17.7 acres. Along with natural gas, electric, water, phone and high-speed fiber internet provided by Bluegrass Fiber, the site offers access to the newly expanded and rerouted Kentucky Highway 30.

Jackson County Judge/Executive Shane Gabbard mentioned the significance of the site: “In my nine years serving as judge/executive in Jackson County, seeing this industrial site get this important certification is one of the most exciting announcements that we have had. It is vital to our economic and community development future. Thank you to all that were involved in making this a reality.”

McKee Mayor J. Michael Stidham expressed his excitement for the project: “As part of the Jackson County/McKee Industrial Development Authority, we are very excited about the approval of the Build-Ready status of the site and anything that can make our county grow. Anything that is good for Jackson County is good for McKee, and this is a great step forward for Jackson County!”

Mitchell Ball, executive director of Jackson County/McKee Industrial Development Authority invited businesses to the area: “Thanks to the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development for all their help, direction and encouragement provided through the Build-Ready process. If a company is looking for a location to start or expand its business/industry, Jackson County is ready and willing to help in any way possible!”

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. 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 Jackson County, the commonwealth is home to roughly 21 available Build-Ready sites. Multiple other locations across the state are currently working toward certification.

To date, 12 former Build-Ready-certified sites, including tracts located in Barren, Butler, Christian, Graves, Hart, Laurel and Pulaski counties and five 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.

To keep the state’s red-hot economy booming and to make sure every community has an opportunity to land a major new employer, the Governor’s current budget proposal includes another $200 million over the next two years: $100 million to prepare mega-development projects and another $100 million for county and regional site development.

“We know this works. Working with lawmakers, we’ve already dedicated $100 million to this kind of site development through this successful program,” Gov. Beshear said. “To date, more than 52 counties have received funding to develop more Build-Ready sites, and a second round of funding is on its way.”

The new Build-Ready site announcement in Jackson County builds on the best four-year period for economic growth in state history.

Since the beginning of his administration, Gov. Beshear has announced more than 1,000 private-sector new-location and expansion projects totaling over $30 billion in announced investments, creating more than 51,800 jobs. This is the highest investment figure secured during the tenure of any governor in the commonwealth’s history.

The robust job creation has been accompanied by rising wages across the commonwealth. The average incentivized hourly wage in 2022 and 2023 topped $26 in consecutive years for the first time.

Gov. Beshear has announced some of the largest economic development projects in state history, which have solidified Kentucky as the electric vehicle battery production capital of the United States: Ford Motor Co. and SK On’s transformative $5.8 billion, 5,000-job BlueOval SK Battery Park in Hardin County; AESC’s $2 billion, 2,000-job gigafactory project in Warren County; Toyota’s $1.3 billion investment in Scott County; and INFAC North America’s $53 million investment in Taylor County, among others.

The Governor’s administration also secured the largest General Fund budget surplus and Rainy Day Fund, as well as the most jobs filled in state history. Last year, Kentucky set the record for the longest period with the lowest unemployment rates in state history.

Kentucky also secured rating increases from major credit rating agencies Fitch Ratings and S&P Global Ratings, and Moody’s Investors Service upgraded Kentucky’s credit outlook from stable to positive.

Site Selection magazine 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.

Gov. Beshear announced a “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 Jackson County can be viewed here.


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