MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - At a news conference Tuesday, Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes announced that the city is using a $10 million line of credit to invest in downtown Myrtle Beach.
Chapin Library and the recent partnership between EdVentures and the Children's Museum of South Carolina will be located in the Superblock area near Nance Plaza in downtown Myrtle Beach.
"You're in walking distance from the heart of Myrtle Beach. This is it. This is part of the heart," Rhodes said. "When you've got vacationers here with children, a parking deck across the street, how easy it is to come and go to a new children's museum right here or to visit a new library."
Rhodes said it is expensive to bring old buildings up to code, which is why many buildings in the Five Points area have been empty, and why development has been slow.
The mayor added that "sales have been made between willing buyers and willing sellers," and this investment will bring great rewards. He said fair market prices have been accepted with willing buyers. The Myrtle Beach Downtown Redevelopment Corporation will spend $3 million to purchase the property required for the new attractions.
The Children's Museum will be built from the ground up to accommodate children with special needs, officials announced.
There is no timeline for construction on the projects at this time.
However, property owners that are going to be selling to the MBDRC for the new facility are starting to look at moving.
The City of Myrtle Beach's Facebook page posted more details and a concept drawing of what the library and museum may ultimately look like:
Those plans mean businesses have to change theirs. Jack Thompson opened his gallery along Nance Plaza only a couple of years ago and he said his business still has room to grow. He noted moving will be a major task.
"Until I hear the sound of the bulldozer, we'll have business as usual on this street," he said.
Thompson added city leaders have told him they plan to showcase his work in the new facility.
"It makes me feel like the city does appreciate the archives that I have accumulated and created over the last 60 years," he said.
House Parts is also looking for a new space 10 years later.
"We've got a great view. I can see the ocean from here," Andrew Paulussen, of House Parts, said. "There's a great synergy to the area and we like it."
Paulussen added he was approached about selling eight months ago.
"For me to find some compulsion to sell my building, I had to have more information and he wasn't allowed to disclose that," Paulussen said. "With the information that we all have now, obviously that process is changing."
Despite the difficulty that comes with change, Paulussen said he is looking toward the future even if it is different from what he envisioned.
"We never imagined that we would leave our home and that's really how we feel about it. We've got a lot of blood, sweat and tears in this place," he said. "You've got to find the upside of whatever dynamic is before you. Currently the city is doing a very honorable job and willing to assist us with a comfortable transition."
When asked about the reasoning for having the buyer be unknown to the businesses selling, Myrtle Beach Councilman Wayne Gray said there is proprietary confidential information from the property owner, and until a property is closed on, it is better not to disclose any details.
Councilman Randal Wallace said he thinks this was all done in the most painless way the city could, but there was a reason for the buyer not being revealed.
"If the city is looking to do something and you know it, the prices go way up," he said. "We offered fair market value. I think we came in strong as far as the money for these folks."
The city also set the press conference for Tuesday without saying exactly what the announcement would be and city leaders declined to comment on it last week.