. - MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - It seems like new shopping centers, neighborhoods and grocery stores are popping up every other week in Myrtle Beach, and city officials don't see the development boom slowing down any time soon.
The city announced there has been nearly $60 million in commercial and residential construction value so far in 2016, compared to $220 million in all of 2015.
The record for a single year was around $440 million.
"Residential construction topped commercial construction last year," said Mark Kruea, spokesman for Myrtle Beach. "And that's a sign that the housing boom is doing really well right now."
Putting new people in new homes is helping to drive new commercial development.
"We have three working hotel projects on Ocean Boulevard, which is the most we've had in about 10 years," Kruea said. "So, you will begin to see a fairly good bit of commercial construction shortly."
Each of those hotels, Kruea added, is going to cost around $50 million.
The population is supporting the growth.
For the second year in a row, the Myrtle Beach metropolitan area was one of the fastest growing in the nation, according to U.S. Census numbers. That is causing developers and big names in the retail industry to take notice.
"A metropolitan area really has to be a certain size before some of the national chains will even look at you," Kruea said. "Even though we get 17 million visitors here a year along the Grand Strand, we're still a little town. Now that the county has topped the 300,000 mark, and we're the second fastest-growing place in the country, I think the national retailers will begin to see us. "
Within the Myrtle Beach city limits, three new Wal-mart Neighborhood Markets are in the works, including one in the Farrow Commons Shopping Center, which should open this summer,
Additionally, a Publix grocery store at the brand new Village Shoppes at Grande Dunes is expected to open in June, and the city's planning commission will decide whether to approve plans for a new shopping center across from the mall this week.