MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The Myrtle Beach Downtown Redevelopment Corporation is moving forward with Coastal Carolina University's interest in taking over space in the Superblock area for a theatre.
At a special-called meeting Thursday afternoon, the DRC members passed approval on CCU using space on Ninth Avenue North for a theatre.
No one from the university was at the meeting to comment, but DRC Chairman Chuck Martino said he welcomes CCU.
The spot university officials are looking at is the movie theatre known as Encore Video, Martino said.
CCU is also looking at the two adjacent buildings next to the movie theatre to be used strictly for additional space and performing arts classrooms.
During the meeting, the DRC passed approval to hold the property for 120 days and enter into a letter of intent agreement to give CCU time to decide if the properties meet their needs. It will also look at costs and see if the university wants to buy it..
Myrtle Beach City Manager John Pederson said all conceptual plans to date have included CCU being the sole owner of the properties, not the city.
"If CCU decides it wants it, then it will actually buy the rights from us on that process ,so we are basically the placeholder on this," Martino said. "It's typically done a lot of times when you have one entity who has the ability to purchase or enter into an agreement - in this case, a letter of intent to purchase the properties - but we don't intend to ever own them. If CCU doesn't want it, then the DRC doesn't want it."
Martino said he encourages partnerships like the one with CCU and believes it fits well with the surrounding area.
"Looking at long term, do they fit in for what we are trying to accomplish as far as an arts community down there and increasing the presence there, yes. Also, the standpoint," Martino said. "It's consistent with the cafés that are there and the need to have something to fill that area. Whether a library or children's museum go in the Superblock or not, CCU would be a welcome partner in the downtown area."
Martino thinks a theatre could create positive foot traffic in the area for performing arts and entertainment purposes.
As for its next steps, the DRC will move forward with a letter of intent from CCU that will last 120 days. The measure is not a binding agreement and simply gives the parties time to work out a cost.
The DRC will act as a conduit for the city of Myrtle Beach and CCU. The city does not intend on owning the buildings at this point.