Downtown Redevelopment Corp. hopes to improve South Mixed-Use Ar - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Downtown Redevelopment Corp. hopes to improve South Mixed-Use Area

Leaders are committed to investing priority time, effort, and money in the South Mixed-Use Area. Leaders are committed to investing priority time, effort, and money in the South Mixed-Use Area.
Martino says they are trying to focus on the millennial market. One of the things they're hoping to focus on is a "drive destination." Martino says they are trying to focus on the millennial market. One of the things they're hoping to focus on is a "drive destination."

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – City council, the new city manager, and the Myrtle Beach Downtown Redevelopment Corporation came to an agreement in order to give more opportunity and traction to sprucing up the downtown area.

Leaders are committed to investing priority time, effort, and money in the South Mixed-Use Area. City council first agreed to create a $10 million pool of funding. This money can be used as incentives for property owners to clean up, or for public infrastructure, or for something as simple as acquiring a piece of property to level it and get it ready for redevelopment.

In this process of securing funding, the city also agreed to absorb some of the expenses that the DRC has been doing on behalf of the city, like thousands of dollars for planting flowers along the Boardwalk, event promotions, and more. This will free up money so the DRC can pay for the interest on those loans.

“The board is now working on coming up with ideas and concepts either from a capital improvements standpoint, or actual projects, or actual ideas of what should be in that area or could be used in that area,” says Chuck Martino, DRC board chairman.

The homework for each board member before June's monthly meeting is to come up with the one building they would like to see torn down or redeveloped, and why that building or that location matters to the area and their goals.

Martino says they are trying to focus on the millennial market. One of the things they're hoping to focus on is a "drive destination." It's a concept where you can drive to this destination one time, park your car, spend an afternoon or evening or full day doing a variety of different activities, and then get in the car one time and go home. Or if you want to do any drinking, then you take one cab in and one cab out.

This is why continuity and cohesion in all their brainstorming is so important. Because Martino says they want to get away from what we currently have, which is a bunch of different attractions or locations that you have to drive to each one. This is not attractive to many millennials.

“We're looking at how do we create enough variety of activities and interest that will draw a large number of people down there, but will not necessarily have to keep moving their vehicles around,” says Martino.

Some of the brainstorming ideas include everything from a big "greenspace" destination, to a music incubator, to a shopping and cinema complex, to an obstacle course out in the ocean -- kind of like the show Wipeout. Big name anchors like the Cheesecake Factory are still on the list as well.

The next step, is they're going to take all the ideas and narrow them down and categorize them. Then next month, they will get into more detail on how some of these could actually work out.

The DRC isn't only focused on the bright lights and attractions for tourists. They have a deep desire to bring in more full-time jobs for those who are invested in this area and call it home.

The DRC board chairman says one way they hope to do this is by creating reasons for needing more year-round industries. For example, Martino says the Myrtle Beach Police Department has already agreed and said that they are willing to put a police sub-station or annex in the South Mixed-Use Area. Some of the board members have also talked about engaging our judges to lobby for a federal court system here in Myrtle Beach. Currently the lawyers in Myrtle Beach all have to drive to Florence for federal court.

The DRC chairman says having an annex or government center like this means there will be more employees that work downtown year round. And that gives entrepreneurs more reason to open cafes, restaurants, convenience stores, and shops to cater to these workers.

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