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 the SITE Program. Through this program, Golden LEAF will provide support to communities to identify potential sites for economic development, enable completion of due diligence on sites already identified, or extend public utilities to or conduct 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.

The SITE Program consists of the three phases described below. Communities will be able to participate in the program in any of the three phases, and a site may progress from Identification through to Development over time.

  • SITE Program – Identification provides support to identify potential industrial sites in communities that do not currently have quality industrial sites to market.
  • SITE Program – Due Diligence provides funding to complete eligible due diligence activities such as environmental assessments, archaeological analyses, and mapping.
  • SITE Program – Development provides funding for public infrastructure and, for publicly owned sites, clearing and 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. See the SITE Program Resources page for information on other site readiness programs.

Golden LEAF budgeted $12.5 million for the program this fiscal year to be awarded in two rounds: Fall 2023 and Spring 2024.

Available resources will be updated periodically. Information posted is current as of July 12, 2023.


Available resources include:

  • Frequently Asked Questions and Glossary
  • Guidelines for each phase of the program (including all application questions and list of required attachments)
  • Due Diligence Overview (explanation of technical requirements)
  • Access to application portal

Application Deadline
Applications for the Fall 2023 round are closed. The application window for the Spring 2024 round will open in January 2024. Sign up for updates.

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