MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – The city of Myrtle Beach is getting closer to having its very own performing arts center and amphitheater.
The designs for that center were first released to the public Friday during the Performing Arts and Amphitheater Facility Design and Build Selection Committee meeting.
The committee's three members have been going through the process of selecting a team of architects and builders to make the city's vision a reality.
"There are certain folks who want to come to a performing arts center for a function and we can do that," said Myrtle Beach Assistant City Manager Ron Andrews. "I think there's another segment of our population that would be highly interested in our amphitheater."
The committee members narrowed down the original eight teams who responded to the request for qualifications to three.
Those teams will put together full plans for a request for proposals.
Friday, the committee went over the plans, gave their feedback and read the scores for their favorite designs. They used a scoring system to narrow down the final contender, which will be the recommendation to city council.
That plan was the only one to include the amphitheater and the city's own budget of nearly $10 million in the initial phase of the project.
Andrews said the amphitheater is important because it's the potential revenue source for the performing arts center.
"The problem that we have, meaning city management and city council, is these facilities typically don't generate enough revenue to support themselves so how do you cover any operating deficit from those costs?" he said.
The city wants an outdoor amphitheater attached to the back of the performing arts center to share facilities and bring in money.
"That way you can have concerts outside and generate revenue that can go to support the performing arts center," Andrews said.
However, all three teams' plans will still go to city council, which will be able to accept the committee's top pick, choose a different team or turn down the performing arts center altogether.
"The committee worked hard. The committee followed the process and I believe we were faithful to the end," Andrews said. "The job now will be to summarize what we've done and present it to the city manager who will present it to city council."
Burroughs and Chapin Boulevard is under construction in the meantime to connect Oak Street and Robert Grissom Parkway. It will give better access to the convention center, sports center and, potentially, the performing arts center.
It is being built as three lanes at first, but will be expanded to four lanes after the performing arts center is constructed.