MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Memorial Day weekend is one reason some people say Ocean Boulevard needs revitalization. While construction on the north end is showing that growth, the south end remains unchanged.
Construction is always a good sign of growth and come February that's exactly what we will see in the empty lot next to the Hampton Inn and Suites, bringing something brand new to the beach. It will be The Hampton Inn and Suites/Homewood Suites, the first dual branded property, oceanfront in the world, according to the hotel manager.
It;s also the first hotel to be built on South Ocean Boulevard, in years.
"First new tower on the south end of town since we built our second tower in 2008, open 2009," said hotel manager Tom Moore.
The Homewood Suites Oceanfront Resort & Conference Center, was given approval by the city in March 2013, but plans were put on hold. The owner of the property, Buddy Lindsey, said finances were unavailable until recently. Either way, he says construction will begin in a few months.
It will come with suites, with kitchens, a restaurant and a 300-seat conference center. It will be a more "upscale," hotel than the two towers already there and add 100 extra rooms which will benefit Myrtle Beach, as a whole.
"In the summertime and the off season, the weekends really fill up and we turn away a lot of people so this will give us extra rooms to refer people to and fill those rooms and make people happy as well," said Moore.
The owners of the property plan to break ground in February 2015 and open the hotel May 2016, hopefully creating a ripple effect in the area.
"Once we get ours open I'm sure there will be others down the street tearing down older hotels and building newer ones," said Moore.
Lillian Fowler and her late husband owned a motel which use to sit on the lot across the street in the 1950s. She and her new co-owner of the Homewood Suites site, Buddy Lindsey, say they want to bring life back to this area, benefiting not just visitors, but people like her family, who've spent years building businesses on Ocean Boulevard.
"I've been here 22 years and have had better business since the Hampton Inn opened up," said Tony Bolitis, owner of the Spring Garden Pancake House across the street. "The Hampton Inn is my bread and butter."