Editor's note: This article was updated to correct the name of the road the shell building will be on.

Construction is slated to begin soon on a 30,000-square foot shell building, JOED Director Sheila Knight said.

A ground breaking ceremony for the building is slated for this month or early February, Knight said, though an exact date has not been decided. The building, to be constructed on Lot 22 on Luther Midgett Road in the Burton Business Industrial Park, is the result of an October decision by the Onslow County Board of Commissioners.

Construction of the shell building was contracted to Pro Construction, Inc. for $1,424,924, according to Jacksonville-Onslow Economic Development’s website.

The Board of Commissioners decided to partner with JOED to use economic development funding to “build a structure that would perhaps be more enticing … to show potential clients what they could do if they bring their business to Onslow County,” Barbara Ikner, former chairman, said.

The $1.4 million slated for construction come from East Carolina Regent, Ikner said, and can only be used for economic development. In addition to that, JOED pledged $250,000 toward the project, according to its website.

Nearly 75 percent of all requests for information from industries that are looking for a new or expansion location, require or request an existing building, Knight said. An existing building, she said, reduces their risk and time for beginning their operations.

“Since many communities have available buildings, Onslow County may not even be considered because that is a primary criteria for (an industry’s) consideration,” Knight said. “Our goal is to remedy as many obstacles as possible so we may be considered as often as possible.”

Both Ikner and Knight said the goals of their organizations were to bring good jobs to Onslow County.

“Even though we were not as successful as we thought we would be, we were always cognizant of bringing new business and jobs to Onslow County,” Ikner said.

In order to fill the shell building upon completion, Knight said ideally, the building would be marketed to attract a manufacturing or tech-based operation, although any industry that would “make a significant capital investment and will provide new jobs will exceed the average wages of Onslow County would certainly be considered,” Knight said.

When the Board of Commissioners approved the construction of a shell building, Ikner said she knew there wasn’t a client on the table although Knight had mentioned she’s had a couple conversations with various industries.

“You put out that you’re in the process of doing this and you ask if they’re interested in it,” Ikner said.

Once JOED finds a suitable industry for the new building and complete the sale, Knight said the real estate and any capital investments, like machinery and equipment will be added to the tax base of Onslow County and generate tax dollars.

“More important, that industry will provide new good-paying jobs to the residents of Onslow County,” Knight said.