Myrtle Beach could buy last two privately-owned Superblock buildings

Myrtle Beach could buy last two privately-owned Superblock buildings

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The City of Myrtle Beach will vote Tuesday on whether or not they will use eminent domain to purchase the two remaining, privately-owned buildings in the downtown Superblock area.

Once the city owns the entire property, they plan to build a public library and a children's museum in place of the current buildings there. WMBF News reported on that story when the announcement was made on January 24.

The goal is to revitalize and bring life back into the area.

Councilman Randal Wallace is looking forward to the possible change.

"This has been a troubled area for literally as long as I can remember," Wallace said. "When you look at some issues we've had from everything from the shootings downtown with the bars late at night that we're not having anywhere else. So, we need to make our efforts to revitalize this area and move forward."

However, one of the current building owners, Tom Davis, disagrees, and claims he has never experienced crime at his building.

"I don't have a bad tenant, I don't have shootings and things like that," said Davis.

Davis' current tenant is an 80-year-old professional photographer who has turned the building into an art studio: Jack Thompson's Studio and Gallery.

Davis and Thompson have known each other since the 1960s, and when Davis purchased the building 35 years ago, he was happy to rent it out to his close friend.

Now, he worries what Thompson will do if the city buys the building from him.

He also worries about what he himself will do, since he doesn't believe the price the City offered him is enough.

"You don't go just by the market value, you go by historic value, sentimental value, future value," said Davis.

He also disagrees with the way the City has gone about the potential purchasing so far.

"I'm really surprised that they would bring up the subject of eminent domain so quick, like telling the property owners 'or else! you will lose your property or you won't get that 30 percent higher than!' I think that's kind of abrupt and early without any kind of sit-down negotiation before hand," said Davis.

However, Councilman Wallace believes strongly that this change will be good for the area.

"This is an effort to do something really bold to get that entire area the investment it needs to start seeing a turnaround down there," said Wallace.

The vote will take place at the City Council meeting on Tuesday. Davis does plan to attend and voice his concern.

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