MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - As construction continues for the Del Webb community along Highway 17 near 62nd Avenue North, city officials said they expect national name-brands to follow into the Myrtle Beach area.
Del Webb is considered as a name-brand in home-building, Myrtle Beach planning director Carol Coleman told WMBF News. Besides creating a lot of buzz in the area, she said they create buzz generally wherever builders decide to bring the community.
A Del Webb representative said the company builds 20,000 homes a year, with about 50 communities across the country actively selling now. She said when a Del Webb community comes to the market, health care providers and mainstream entertainment and restaurants typically follow. The idea of the neighborhood, specifically Myrtle Beach Del Webb, is to cater to the 55-year-old and over community with special neighborhood amenities and services.
Coleman said Myrtle Beach is transitioning from a beach town to a small city. Developments like Del Webb are helping that change along. Many people who've vacationed in the Grand Strand for years are deciding to make the Myrtle Beach area a permanent place to retire, she said, encouraging development.
Myrtle Beach Del Webb is hoped to be similar to Hilton Head's Sun City Del Webb community, Coleman said. That area used to be bare, but ripe for development. She talked about the town of Bluffton and how the Del Webb community and business attraction has spilled over into surrounding areas. Similar to the Hilton Head area, zoned areas for development are helping the Grand Strand prosper.
"The area that was originally set aside for timber farming was sold off and that's been developed. A great example here is Carolina Forest. Carolina Forest was owned by International Paper, and for generations all they did was grow trees and cut trees, and grow more trees. And now, it's turned into a community that's considering, you know, incorporating themselves and becoming their own town," said Carol Coleman.
The 62nd Avenue North Grande Dunes Del Webb area was already planned as a residential development, and now it's being acted on. An assisted living facility is in the first stages to be built in the area because of Del Webb's construction. She expects more businesses to follow and property values to increase.
"What makes developments prosper is when they continue to develop. That's a question we've gotten at the Market Common. You know, people have said, 'Aren't you worried about more traffic?' Aren't you worried about this?' You know, 'Aren't you worried about the impact from taking this open space away?' When it wasn't designated open space, it was designated for townhome development, and we have, for example, a single family coming in. Anytime you develop out a plan and it comes to fruition, I think it contributes to the property value instead of takes away," Coleman said.