Myrtle Beach moving forward with plans to partner with CCU, bring theater to Superblock

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Almost five years ago the city held a voter referendum to pay for a $10 million performing arts center behind the Myrtle Beach Convention Center.

Now that the referendum has expired, city leaders are instead leaning toward adding a performing arts center in the Superblock area.

"City council has moved away from a performing arts center. The clock has run (out) on that. We never could get a project that fit inside our budget. So I think council is now looking towards the Superblock as an arts district," said city spokesman, Mark Kruea.

The city hired a consultant to help them transform the Superblock area into an arts district, complete with a brand new theater that would sit in three buildings on Main Street.

"The Myrtle Beach Downtown Redevelopment Corporation has a contract to purchase, subject to stipulations, three of those buildings, including an old movie theater, with the possible idea of turning it into a performing arts theater that the city and CCU could share in," Kruea said.

"We're encouraged by the conversations we've had thus far," said Dr. Dan Ennis, Coastal Carolina University's dean of humanities and fine arts.

Ennis said CCU was leasing a theater downtown on 79th Avenue, but now they're hoping to have a new space in the heart of the city.

"We would operate it as a theater and put Coastal productions into it and let it be a space where people could see the students' work," said Ennis.

Kruea noted the city and CCU have slightly different visions.

"CCUs original proposal was for a smaller performing arts center than our arts community wanted. We were looking at 600 to 800 seats maybe behind the convention center," he said. "CCU's proposal was for 100 to 200. So we're still looking to find a happy medium, something that will work for CCU but also our arts community."

Business owners say no matter the size, they're excited about the possibility of a theater downtown.

"It's amazing, it's positive. It's going to bring a lot of new people down to Myrtle Beach and it will revitalize the Main Street. I hope they don't stop there; I hope they bring the entire CCU and have a downtown campus," said Good Day Café owner Kevin Andrews.

Kruea says if all the pieces fall into place, there could be a plan for the area by 2019.

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