Charlie's Place on agenda for an upgrade, city looks to public f - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Charlie's Place on agenda for an upgrade, city looks to public for ideas

Charlie's Place sits next to an empty lot with a city sign that reads "Future Home of Charlie's Place." (Source: Meredith Helline) Charlie's Place sits next to an empty lot with a city sign that reads "Future Home of Charlie's Place." (Source: Meredith Helline)
Aerial rendering of future renovations to Charlie's Place. (Source: City of Myrtle Beach) Aerial rendering of future renovations to Charlie's Place. (Source: City of Myrtle Beach)

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The well-known former house of music, Charlie's Place, has sat empty on Carver Street for decades.  

Now, Myrtle Beach officials are looking to the residents living around it for ideas as to how to breathe new life into the hotel.

“You’ve got a built-in neighborhood right there, so you’ve got an audience. We already get folks who come to Myrtle Beach and make plans to visit the historic Myrtle Beach Colored School, so we’ve got the historic tourism going on already. So if you get a busy museum, maybe there’d be a business that could relocate by that museum," said Myrtle Beach spokesman Mark Kruea, explaining why a renovated Charlie's Place would be successful.

The city has drawn up renderings of what they think would be successful. Kruea said the main building will be renovated, and hopefully turned into a museum commemorating the former glory of the site.  

Musical greats like Ray Charles, Cab Calloway and The Clovers performed during segregated times in the Myrtle Beach area. The black musicians would come in to play at white hotels and stay at Charlie's Place. The historic site needs to be preserved, Kruea said, noting it is the birthplace of The Shag and original beach music.

New renderings also show it as an office and event space, as well as a community gathering center. 

“The distributor for the records during the 40s and 50s would put that African American music into the jukeboxes along the coast. So the visitors would come down, they’d hear that music here. They couldn’t find it at home, so it was called beach music because the beach was the only place they could find that music," Kruea said.

The project is proposed to happen in three phases, finishing up in 2020. Kruea said it's being paid for by community block grants and is expected to cost around $600,000.

The new Charlie's Place rendering will be available at the Booker T. Washington neighborhood meeting on Monday, Aug. 28, at 6 p.m. at the Mary C. Canty Recreation Center.  

City officials would also like public input and ideas for the renovations there.

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