Panel wants to breathe new life into downtown Myrtle Beach

Panel wants to breathe new life into downtown Myrtle Beach
MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - A concert venue, more restaurants and new housing are only some of the proposed ideas to bring to Myrtle Beach.

The Downtown Redevelopment Corporation brought in outside eyes, Urban Land Institute Panel, to survey 75 acres of land between the former Pavilion and Family Kingdom. The panel was asked to research the changes needed to breathe life back into this part of the beach.

“We don't want to just have more of the same. We want something new and different, some call it the next 'big thing,'" said DRC Chairman Chuck Martino . "It may not be big in size, it may be big in concept."

Tuesday, the DRC brought the first look at the concept, from the Urban Land Institute, to city council.

Those findings came from the panel who spent two days touring other areas like The Market Common and Broadway at the Beach.

Council got a brief look at recommendations from the panel. The goal is to build up the area bounded by Seventh Avenue North, First Avenue North, Kings Highway and the Atlantic Ocean.

The recap noted our strengths, calling us a desired destination. It stated our weaknesses, one being the perception of safety. It pointed out opportunities: building a concert venue, creating more pedestrian friendly traffic patterns, expanding the boardwalk. It indicated our threats, one being the diminishing baby boomer population.

From these findings came a conversation with city council members, looking at what a new focus would be. Many agreed one focus should be catering millennials.

"Hopefully from the idea that once they come down and enjoy it that they'll buy, they'll stay here, and they'll make this their home,” said Martino.

These are only suggestions from a panel. To see these changes, we could have a long way to go.

The first step to make these ideas a reality is to gather a complete draft of recommendations from a development panel with ULI, that will be unveiled at the DRC meeting in January.

From there, reaching out to city council and businesses downtown, for input, coming up with a common vision so the developer doesn't have to create it.

Then, finding ways to get developers to invest in our area with new businesses, we haven't seen here before. For redevelopment to happen, the DRC needs to be backed by city council.

"The challenges are always going to be budget, and it's going to be their pet projects that they want to fund versus funding something new,” said Martino.

Copyright 2014 WMBF News. All rights reserved.