MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Condemned, empty properties are causing trouble in neighborhoods and giving Myrtle Beach officials reasons to request demolition. It's part of a multi-phase re-development project that already brought down one former oceanfront hotel.
The Emerald Shores used to be at 5th Ave. North and Ocean Blvd., but it was just the kicker for a domino demolition effect to bring money back to the south side. The city of Myrtle Beach and Myrtle Beach Downtown Redevelopment Corporation, DRC, have partnered together to bring down condemned hotels and buildings so they can become a cleared property, ripe to be turned in to something new.
The city and DRC created an agreement with local banks last year to establish a $10 million line of credit to use towards downtown improvements. That credit line is used to pay for the demolitions. As past of the demolition agreements with property owners, the property owners must agree to pay back the city for demolition expenses within three years. "It's there for improvements in that central business district," the spokesman for the city of Myrtle Beach, Mark Kruea, said.
Property owners can pay with money earned by selling the properties after demolition, or by redevelopment. So far the Emerald Shores Motel, Rainbow Court and Ocean Liner Motel are the largest properties on the demo docket. Their demolition expenses have cost over $400,000 to date. Each was abandoned for a while, or infected with asbestos, before being destroyed. Other properties are smaller business add-ons.
Kruea said the city and DRC is planning to have almost 20 downtown properties come down with the agreement.
"Demolishing these older hotels that were a problem for their neighboring businesses, for the area around them, is a good thing and the property owners understood that as well. They may not have had the resources at that point to do that. So for us to work together as a partner to make the improvements by demolishing these older hotels…which you know makes an improvement in the neighborhood, the adjacent property…you know, we're glad to do that," Kruea said.
Motel owners in the 5th Ave. North area told WMBF News they're happy to see the abandoned businesses come down. They said abandoned buildings like the Emerald Shores Motel and Rainbow Court were a safety threat to them. They said they'd see drug deals in the street and homeless people gather in the buildings around fires. WMBF News was told panhandling motel guests is still an issue.
Kruea said knocking these buildings down saves first responders time.
"These are properties that aren't in use anymore. They're boarded up, sometimes unsuccessfully, they may have people that take the boards off the windows...start fires. They are frequent flyers for the police and fire departments. So removing those troubling aspect from the neighborhood, you know, the nearby businesses are happy when those properties come down. The city doesn't have to invest a whole lot of time and effort then maintaining and securing those buildings," Kruea said.
The $10 million line of credit can be used for downtown improvements also including parking expansions and beautification. He said the credit line is supporting by parking meter revenue.
The newly announced Nance Plaza redevelopment plans are also being paid for by the same $10 million credit line.