Lowes Foods opening on International Drive; more to come

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - The new Lowes Foods is opening up Wednesday off of International Drive, and representatives say it will be unlike any other that's in the area.

There are five Lowes Grocery Stores throughout the Grand Strand, but the store location on International Drive is only the second one in the Myrtle Beach area. Representatives say the store features the branding and some new amenities that will soon spread to other stores.

Next door, there is a Marco's Pizza that has opened, and other spaces for future businesses, plus there are still plans for a CVS Pharmacy. The development keeps piling up around International Drive in this particular section of Carolina Forest. Under construction now is the new 50,000 square foot StarTek call center where 600 people will be working. The multi-million dollar building is scheduled to open this coming fall. Right across from it a new apartment complex, Vinings at Carolina Bays, is putting on the finishing touches.

The construction won't stop there as more plans for the future of the area are still coming in. The Horry County Planning Department just received an application for a mini-strip mall behind the Murphy's Express gas station, and the Bojangles off International Drive. It's too early to tell how many stores it will feature, but Janet Carter with the planning department says it will have a Dunkin Donuts. A TurboJet Car Wash is also planned to set up right next to the Bojangles.

WMBF News talked with people in the area about all this rapid development, and there are some mixed reactions.

"I don't see any signs of way over development or anything like that," Said Mike Altman, who works in the area. "I suppose there is a point where it could get too much. But not yet."

"I'm sure it will get pretty crazy soon," said Matthew Scheeler, who lives in Carolina Forest. "Once the tourists realize there's a lot down here."

Most of the new development has popped up in a short time frame, and it looks as if the momentum will keep going. The Horry County Planning Department says that the number of construction permits that have been pulled this year in the county is the same as this time in 2013, which is 203 permits.

We've seen a lot happen with International Drive in the past year, and there's still more to come. In the works now: the StarTek Call Center and the new Vinnings apartment complex. Then there are future plans to add another mini-strip mall behind the Murphy Express and the Bojangles'.

The construction permit has just been submitted, so the county couldn't say all the plans for how many stores, but there will be a Dunkin Donuts. A construction permit has also been pulled for a Turbo Jet Car wash on the other side of the Bojangles'.

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