Grand Strand still in search of piece of Boeing pie

Myrtle Beach, SC - By Laura Thomas - bio | email

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Boeing announced this week that it will bring even more jobs to South Carolina by building a new facility in North Charleston to produce interior parts like stow bins, closets, and partitions.

That facility will be going in just across town from the new assembly plant.

However, in the weeks after the Boeing announcement, leaders in the Grand Strand had hoped more announcements like this one would be coming from the Myrtle Beach area.

Jimmy Yahnis is the Board Chairman for the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation. He says Boeing's impact in the Grand Strand is taking longer than he'd like.

"There is opportunity but it may be delayed," explained Yahnis.

He says there are some major hurdles, like the lack of infrastructure near the Myrtle Beach Aerospace Park.

Right now the park is mostly empty, without a direct route to connect it with Farrow Parkway.

Yahnis says this has probably kept some companies away.

"We have found that companies like to have ready-made product in place and that means roads, developed lots, and in a lot of cases, buildings in place," explained Yahnis.

He says he is still hopeful because even though it's mostly empty land at the park, there's a lot of it - and a lot of room for development.

Michael Marlowe, the General Aviation Manager for Horry County says the county is working on infrastructure.

"We feel confident that once we get the infrastructure in, which should start shortly here within the next few months that we're gonna have companies that will actually commit to build out here," said Marlowe.

Marlowe adds that the park has the largest acreage of any air commerce park in the state.

He also says the area has lots of willing workers that would be attractive to a subcontractor and that the workforce will now also be a skilled one with the new aeronautics training program at Horry Georgetown Technical College.

"We are going to take extraordinary measures to get these companies in here and to make a success of this park," said Marlowe.

Yahnis says there should be at least some economic impact in the Grand Strand in the next 3 to 5 years. He says that now that the state has landed Boeing - it's time for the Grand Strand to step up and land a major deal of its own.

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