DRC funded three-phase demo project underway downtown Myrtle Bea - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

DRC funded three-phase demo project underway downtown Myrtle Beach

The condemned Emerald Shores building will soon be demolished. (Source: WMBF News) The condemned Emerald Shores building will soon be demolished. (Source: WMBF News)
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MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Myrtle Beach will soon be saying goodbye to a number of condemned downtown buildings that are set to be demolished. 

How long have city officials been talking about getting rid of the blighted, condemned buildings? Now, the city is putting its money where its mouth is and kicking off the massive, multi-phase demolition project between Fourth and Fifth avenues north.

Emerald Shores is just the first phase of the three-phase project, and on August 1, crews were inside clearing out the asbestos preparing for demolition within the week. Tourists and locals alike want to see the blighted properties go.

"It just attracts criminal behavior," said tourist Ryan Owens of buildings like the former Emerald Shores Motel. "It's an eyesore and it's not a good look for the community."

The Myrtle Beach Downtown Redevelopment Corporation has a newly-approved line of credit. It can spend up to $10 million on a wide variety of projects. In the case of the demolition project, it eliminates the waiting game.

"There's criminals, there's people misbehaving and they're not adding value to the family-friendly atmosphere that the city wants to achieve," said David Sebok, president of the DRC.

The property that used to be the family-friendly Rainbow Court sits empty and boarded up, with broken bottles leftover from trespassers littering the inside.

Rainbow Court will be phase two of the demolition, while the houses scattered around it will be phase three. Each structure is owned by the same property owner. This phase is expected to begin the second week of August, following the same plan as Emerald Shores. The asbestos will be cleared out, and then the buildings can be torn down. Phase three was to begin soon after, but instead, Sebok said that it will happen in the winter or fall of 2016. This phase includes the demolition of several standalone buildings scattered along the same block as Rainbow Court.

The DRC will get its money back, as the line of credit comes with a zero percent interest loan.

When the property is eventually redeveloped, the DRC will be reimbursed for the money it paid for the demolition, which Sebok estimated to be between $500,000 and $600,000.

Sebok added the potential for redevelopment dollars is staggering, and expects the value of the site to be between $100 million and $120 million by the time the redevelopment is complete. That's why there's no sitting back and waiting Sebok wants to carry the momentum of the redevelopment effort past these two city blocks off 5th Avenue North. Officials are reaching out to other nearby property owners hoping they'll get on board with the redevelopment and get involved somehow on their own property.

Right now, there's no one thing expected to be built. Sebok said the site could hold anything from accommodation towers to a police substation, as well as parking.

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