Plans are in the works to build a new Alcoholic Beverage Control store along Wayne Memorial Drive near the U.S. 70 Bypass.

Construction on the 5,200-square-foot building should start in June with completion expected before the end of the year or early 2018, said Michael Myrick, general manager of the Wayne County ABC Board.

The building will be added to a 1.8-acre property on Wayne Memorial Drive, behind the Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market and near Tommy's Road.

"Right now, it's all in the preliminary stages," Myrick said. "It's a great location. We wanted to get something in the northern part of the county and something close to the bypass. That was the goal."

The store will add to the five existing locations in Wayne County, and could become one of the top selling stores due to its proximity to the future Maxwell Regional Agricultural and Convention Center, Wayne Community College and the busy thoroughfare where future hotels may locate, Myrick said.

The store will also fill a need in northern Wayne County, where the former Fremont ABC store operated until 2010. The Fremont location, on U.S. 117, was closed following back-to-back robberies and low sales, Myrick said.

"Ever since we closed Fremont, the people in the northern part of the county have had to drive a little farther to buy our product," Myrick said. "The people in Saulston, Pikeville and Fremont will benefit from this store big time.

"As it grows, we expect it to probably be one of our top stores for sales."

The store is expected to bring in nearly $1.5 million in sales revenue, he said.

The Wayne County ABC Board and N.C. ABC Commission approved the new store and its location in 2015. Several other locations were considered, including properties south of the bypass on U.S. 117 and areas around the U.S. 70 Bypass near Wayne Memorial Drive, Myrick said.

The Wayne County ABC Board expects to seek design and construction bids within the next several months.

"We hope to get it built for $800,000 to $1 million," Myrick said.

The ABC Board expects to pay off the debt within 18 months, he said.

The location of the store, near Tommy's Road Elementary School, meets site-distance requirements set by state law. The law previously included a required 50-foot site distance from a school or church. An updated version of the law has redefined the distance by prohibiting an ABC store within an "unreasonable" distance of a school or church, Myrick said.

The city's zoning rules do not include any site distance requirements, since the property is zoned general business and ABC stores are an allowed use, said James Rowe, Goldsboro planning director.

Myrick said crime hasn't been an issue for ABC stores, except at the previous Fremont site.

ABC stores are tightly regulated with no one under the age of 21 allowed inside a store. Alcohol sales are prohibited to anyone who is intoxicated, he said.

"It goes back to the control in ABC," Myrick said. "It's a legal product, and sales need to be controlled, and that's what we think our system does."

Site development plans include the addition of a 5- to 10-foot-high landscaped berm at the back of the property near the school. Fencing, possibly a 6-foot-high, chain-link fence, is also planned around the perimeter of the property. Neither are required, Myrick said.

The new store will add to the five ABC stores located throughout the county, at Landmark Drive, U.S. 70 West, West Grantham Street, U.S. 70 East near LaGrange, and North Breazeale Avenue in Mount Olive.

Wayne County ABC stores collectively generate almost $8.6 million in annual sales, with most of the profits, after expenses, returning to the county and municipalities where stores are located.

During the past year, Wayne County received close to $300,000, the city of Goldsboro nearly $250,000 and Mount Olive about $50,000. The ABC Board also contributes close to $20,000 each year locally to education and rehabilitation programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Myrick said.