Note: A previous version of this article referred to office buildings needed. It has been corrected to Industrial Buildings.
Okaloosa County is rapidly becoming a desirable location for tech, manufacturing and defense contractors.
- Three months ago, the Okaloosa Economic Development Council had 29 active projects in the works; now, that number has increased to 42.
“I’ve been in my job now nine years and I’ve never seen this level of project activity of companies that we’re working with,” said Nathan Spark, Director of One Okaloosa EDC. “Some are existing that are looking to expand, many are from the outside looking to locate here, and to have that level of activity is phenomenal.”
However, the county’s shortage of available building capacity makes it challenging to keep up with the sudden influx of manufacturing companies wanting to relocate to Okaloosa. According to Sparks, there are only three industrial buildings available in the county that are able to accommodate a business that needs more than 10,000 square feet of space.
Additionally, many of the businesses in negotiations with the county are hesitant to go through the build-out process due to cost and time and are looking for a ready-made solution.
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Sparks said that even with offers to build-to-suit by some of the EDC’s partners, some businesses don’t see it as a viable course of action.
- “We need buildings,” he said. “And I can tell you, we definitely feel like they would be filled if we had them.”