Virginia Business Ready Sites Program
The Virginia Business Ready Sites Program (VBRSP) is a discretionary program established to promote development and characterization of sites (containing a minimum of 100 contiguous, developable acres) to enhance the Commonwealth’s infrastructure and promote the Commonwealth’s competitive business environment.
The Site Characterization Grant is designed to assess the level of existing development at a site and the additional development required to bring the site to a level that will enable the site to be marketed for industrial or commercial economic development purposes.
The Site Development Grant is designed to bring sites to higher levels of development and readiness for marketing. Site development grants are available to assist with the costs associated with the development required to increase a site's currently designated Site Characterization Tier to the next level.
All sites submitted should already have a designated Site Characterization Tier Level in VirginiaScan, or a Site Characterization Tier Level and supporting documentation may be submitted with the Site Development Grant Application. Please note that through the efforts of the Virginia Economic Developers Association, a 100-acre site is now eligible for a Site Development Grant.
A total of approximately $1.2 million is available for Site Development Grants. Applications for Site Development Grants will be accepted beginning on April 17, 2017 through May 19, 2017.
The VBRSP was developed by the VBRSP Working Group, a team of state, regional, and local stakeholders including VEDP, DEQ, railroad representatives, utility representatives, civil engineers, and other government, business and industry representatives. Grants are made at the discretion of a committee of VBRSP Working Group members. An applicant must demonstrate a commitment to bringing a site to a higher level of development. Financial participation by the recipient of a grant will be required.
At least one webinar will be scheduled during the application process. More details to be announced.
Click here for the VBRSP Site Development Guidelines and Application.
Frequently Asked Questions
Was participation in Phase 1, the characterization phase, necessary to apply for Phase 2, the development phase?
Answer: No, you did not have to participate in Phase 1 of the program to apply for Phase 2. You will need to have the site characterized by an appropriate authority (ie. Engineering firm) and submit their characterization letter, with supporting documentation, with a tier designation with your Phase 2 Development application.
Is the program limited to publically owned sites?
Answer: No. However, the application must come from a recognized or approved government entity, most likely a locality, a local economic development organization or a regional economic development organization.
What is the deadline for Phase 2 applications?
Answer: The application deadline for the Development Phase 2 applications is May 19th.
What is the minimum number of contiguous acres a site must have to be submitted for Phase 2?
Answer: All sites submitted for Phase 2 must have at least 100 contiguous acres.
Will this be an ongoing program?
Answer: The goal of the program is to always be developing a supply of ready sites across the Commonwealth. In order to meet that goal, the program anticipates a series of development grant rounds. This would allow lower tier sites to make plans to keep progressing to Tier 5 designations and would allow new sites with in-place designations to enter the development phase. It is also a goal of the program to offer additional characterization rounds to bring new sites into the program. Of course, all awards and future program rounds are subject to funding from the General Assembly.
How will the grant funding be disbursed?
Answer: The grant funding will be disbursed pursuant to a Performance Agreement. Each performance agreement will designate milestones according to the work that needs to be done. It is anticipated that an initial partial payment will be disbursed to assist with early planning and work. Additional funds will be disbursed as milestones are met as set forth in the performance agreements.
When will the matching funds be required to be released?
Answer: The release of the timing of matching funds will be set forth in the performance agreements. It is anticipated, that a release of matching funds will be aligned with the disbursement of state grant funds.
What are the requirements relative to zoning for the sites?
Answer: Zoning does not have to be in place for Tier 1 or Tier 2. However, documentation should be provided showing that obtaining the appropriate zoning is including in a comprehensive plan. For Tiers 3 and above, zoning is required to be in place.
Must all work be actually completed in the 12 month time frame established? For example, if it will take longer than 12 months to complete the actual construction of a long road, will that eliminate the site from consideration?
Answer: Although it is expected that all work will be completed in the timeframes given, exceptions will be given due consideration. In the example above, if all planning is completed and dedicated funding has been set aside to complete the road, then an exception would be given to the 12 month rule. Documentation of the planning, funding and work schedule would be required.
When do you expect the award winners will be announced?
Answer: The awards will be announced on June 16th.