SITE Program

Golden LEAF recognizes that rural and economically distressed communities must have sites available for development to attract new businesses and create opportunities for existing businesses to expand. To address this need, Golden LEAF created a new SITE Program. Through this program, Golden LEAF will provide support to communities to identify potential sites for economic development, and enable completion of due diligence on sites already identified, or to extend public utilities to or conduct rough grading and clearing of sites for which due diligence has been completed. Golden LEAF will accept applications from organizations in all counties, but will prioritize awards within counties that have been persistently economically distressed (as demonstrated by County Tier status determined by the N.C. Department of Commerce) and in economically distressed, rural, and tobacco-dependent communities.

Communities will be able to begin the process at any of the three phases, and a site may progress from identification through to development over time.

  • SITE Program – Identification support to identify potential industrial sites in communities that do not currently have quality industrial sites to market.
  • SITE Program – Due diligence funding to complete eligible due diligence activities such as environmental assessments, archaeological analyses, and mapping.
  • SITE Program – Development funding for public infrastructure and, for publicly owned sites, clearing and rough grading, to benefit sites that have completed the due diligence necessary to demonstrate that the site is suitable for development.

If you’re not sure which phase is right for your project, we have a few questions to help guide you.

Golden LEAF intends for the SITE Program to complement other site readiness and site development programs existing in North Carolina and has coordinated its program requirements with those other programs.

Golden LEAF budgeted $15 million for the program this fiscal year to be awarded in two rounds: Fall 2022 and Spring 2023. Golden LEAF will reserve approximately $7.5 million for funding the SITE Program in Spring 2023.

Applications for the Fall 2022 round are due September 19, 2022 at noon for consideration by the Golden LEAF Board at the December 1, 2022 meeting.

Available resources will be updated periodically while the application window is open. Information posted is current as of July 22, 2022.

Contact staff FAQ and Glossary Overview of all resources


The fall 2022 round of the SITE Program has closed. Sign up for updates to the SITE Program and to receive information about the round two application deadline.

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