The Rural Building Demolition Program is administered by the Rural Division of the North Carolina Department of Commerce; it provides grants to local governments to support the demolition of vacant buildings to encourage site rehabilitation and site availability for economic development purposes.

The N.C. Department of Commerce annually ranks the state’s 100 counties based on economic well-being and assigns each a tier designation. The 40 most distressed counties are designated as Tier 1, the next 40 as Tier 2 and the 20 least distressed as Tier 3. This tier system is incorporated into the Rural Building Demolition Program to encourage economic activity in the less prosperous areas of the state. For more information about county tier designations, visit the N.C. Department of Commerce’s website.


Eligible Use

The only eligible expense is building demolition and removal. Pre-development costs are not eligible for payment from the grant. Upon completion of the project, the property must be site ready for development. The site shall not be used for locating government/public, parking, recreation or housing facilities.

Basic Requirements for Eligibility

Eligible applicants are local governments located in a Tier 1 or Tier 2 county, or a rural census tract in a Tier 3 county. In Tier 1 or Tier 2 counties, priority will be given to towns or communities with populations of fewer than 5,000. A rural census tract is an area having a population density of fewer than 500 people per square mile, according to the most recent decennial federal census. Rural census tract designations can be found on the AccessNC website.

The local government (“applicant”) must pass a resolution approving the demolition.

  • If multiple political jurisdictions tax the property or building, all of the jurisdictions must pass a resolution approving the demolition.
  • The applicant’s resolution should also include the commitment that the local government will not allow the property to be used for ineligible uses that include government/public, parking, recreation and housing for at least three years after the award date.


The building must have been vacant for three years prior to the proposed demolition.

The local government must have control of the property at the time of grant award, either through a contractual arrangement or ownership. The contractual arrangement should include a development agreement with the private property owner that disallows the property from being used for ineligible uses including government/public, parking, recreation and housing for three years from the grant award date.

The local government must contribute at least 25% of the total project cost as a cash match.  The cash match must come from local government resources and may not be derived from other state or federal grant funds. If funds are awarded to the local government for a demolition project, certain pre-development expenditures made up to one year prior to the award date may be counted towards the local match requirement.

There must be a reasonable expectation of private sector investment and job creation at the rehabilitated site. Properties zoned for residential use are not eligible for this grant.


For more information about the Rural Building Demolition Program, contact the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina at (919) 447-7777 or by filling out our online form.

The Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina does not award or administer this incentive. All economic development incentives are awarded and administered by the North Carolina Department of Commerce.