Redevelopment of Ocean Blvd excites visitors

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Bryan Aaron visited Myrtle Beach about five years ago. Tuesday morning Aaron was on day two of a Myrtle Beach getaway and took a stroll along Ocean Blvd.

"So much has changed. I mean I'm walking around and everything looks new to me. I'm kind of lost," said Aaron.

Five years ago there was no Boardwalk and no Skywheel. Now Aaron is seeing the latest transformation unfold right before his eyes. The old Candy Store on 9th Ave was demolished on Monday.

David Sebok with the Myrtle Beach Downtown Redevelopment Corporation says there are plans for a new 6,000 square ft candy store to be called 'I Love Sugar'. The new candy shop is the latest sign of redevelopment along the Ocean Blvd. and a sight people may see even more of, redevelopment on the land side of the boulevard, according to Sebok.

"We'll start to see more of the older and vacant properties get developed," Sebok said.

Three properties on the land side were recently purchased and each one is now under new ownership. The vacant Beverly Motel, the vacant Club Exception and the old Wendy's could be the next in line for major redevelopment in 2013, according to Sebok.

So far this year there have been two major projects on the oceanfront. Banditos Mexican Restaurant on 14th Ave. North and a new family attraction is underway. 'Shark Attack' is a new miniature golf course that will go where the Chesterfield Inn once stood.

There will be a rooftop restaurant and gift shop as part of the new attraction. Owner Karon Mitchell says she hopes to open doors by Valentine's Day weekend next year.

Sebok says the up tick in the economy and these projects should spark even more change along the Ocean Blvd. In the meantime, visitors like Aaron seem to be excited about all the progress made so far.

"It's a lot more of a family atmosphere than what it used to be, so it's a good thing."

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