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Economic Development Government News Statewide

Site Readiness Fund open for applications

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The multistory Amazon fulfillment center at Boxwood is one of the largest industrial spaces built in Delaware in recent decades. | DBT PHOTO BY JACOB OWENS

WILMINGTON — Municipalities and developers can now apply for the state’s long-awaited Site Readiness Fund for money that can construct or improve infrastructure on potential projects that would improve the local economy.

The Site Readiness Fund contains $10 million and is geared to accelerating site development for companies that are interested in arriving or expanding to Delaware. Key to the company’s site selection process is speed to market and finding a construction-ready commercial or industrial site. Funds will be awarded on a match basis, with the site owners paying half the project costs. 

“This is to really bring sites that are at the very beginning stages up to the point where they can be finished very quickly,” Division of Small Business Director Jordan Schulties said during a webinar on Jan. 19. “We are anticipating that this is going to be a really competitive round, just because the demand has been so pent up. We’re expecting to be well oversubscribed to the $10 million that’s available.”

Funding is open to private and public entities and will be divided into two levels. Level one grants, which are capped at $100,000, cover projects in the early stages of development and could include surveys, wetland environmental assessments, preliminary planning and engineering, and more. Level two grants are awarded for advanced projects, such as infrastructure and utilities, and are available at 50% of the project cost, capped at $1 million.

There is no cap on how many applications a developer or a municipality may submit, although retail and residential projects do not qualify.

Applicants need to submit three years of financial statements or tax returns, a certificate of good business standing or business license, a project budget and cost estimates, and a site or concept plan. Projects also need a letter of sponsorship from the county or municipal government. If the applicant is a local government, the administrator or county executive would need to provide a letter of sponsorship of how the project falls into the municipality’s strategic goals.

The Internal Investment Committee will review the applications and prioritize applications based on the likelihood a developer will complete the project and the site’s marketability. Other considerations include job creation, how it serves the public and the financial stability of the venture. Final recommendations will be presented to the appointed Council on Development Finance (CDF) for approval.

Deadline on the applications is Feb. 18. The Internal Investment Committee is scheduled to review the applications in early March and presentations will be made to the CDF on March 28.

For more information or to access the application, visit business.delaware.gov/site-readiness-fund

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