Myrtle Beach adds financial incentives to attract redevelopment projects

Updated: Feb. 17, 2020 at 7:12 PM EST
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MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - City leaders are hoping expanding its financial incentives will create more investment throughout Myrtle Beach.

City council approved changing its financial incentives guidelines this month to allow smaller businesses to get money back for renovation projects they complete.

For example, if a developer builds a hotel worth around $1 million, they are eligible to receive around $20,000 back.

“The business invests the amount of money, they pay the city some of those fees and then they have the opportunity, once the project is up and running, to get back a portion of what they spent,” city spokesperson Mark Kruea said. “We’re really giving them their own money back and that’s where the incentive comes from.”

Kruea said companies have had the opportunity for years to get money back for building in certain areas of the city. He said only the Bayshore Hotel project on 6th Avenue North has qualified for the program back in 2016.

Kruea said council hopes expanding the zone will give more businesses the opportunity to take advantage of these incentives.

The previous financial incentive eligibility zone went from 3rd Ave. South to 9th Ave. North and away from the beach to Robert Grissom Parkway.

Myrtle Beach leaders recently expanded its financial incentive eligibility area. This was where...
Myrtle Beach leaders recently expanded its financial incentive eligibility area. This was where the area use to be in 2016.(City of Myrtle Beach)

The new eligibility zone runs from Kings Highway to Ocean Boulevard, from 29th Avenue North to the southern intersection of Ocean Boulevard and Kings Highway, and the new Arts & Innovation District.

In addition to expanding the zone, city council also made changes so smaller businesses could benefit. Businesses in the designated area can receive 10% of their renovation project costs back.

“New investment is great. It’s wonderful to have that new $50-$100 million hotel, but you also have to maintain what you have already and this gives those smaller properties, the existing hotels, the ability to put that investment in and get a little bit of that money back,” Kruea explained.

There are also a few industries the city is offering incentives to citywide. Last week leaders added workforce housing to the list.

“We’re a tourism destination, you may not be able to live that close to the ocean if you’re one of the people who work here so that’s why we’d like to encourage more workforce housing,” Kruea said.

Medical providers, retail, and technology companies are also on that list.

Myrtle Beach’s financial incentives are not the only ones businesses in the area can take advantage of. Federal and state financial incentives have been in place for years.

Sandy Davis, CEO of the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation (MBREDC), said incentives can be a useful tool for attracting business.

“I do not think the incentives pay a company to come here but they take it into account as far as their bottom line each year, what they would save by coming here,” Davis explained. “Some of our incentives are not really that effective for bringing companies here because the bottom line is our utility rate and our taxes are so much cheaper that usually their bottom line is going to be reduced anyway.”

Multiple areas throughout Horry County qualified for the nationwide Opportunity Zone Program. The program gives financial incentives to companies who choose to develop in the zones that are typically low-income areas.

The program has been around for a few years but Davis said no company has committed to the county.

She said she thinks the city’s incentives, the opportunity zones and historic tax credits offer a great opportunity for developers in downtown Myrtle Beach.

The city is also hopeful about the opportunity for local and out-of-state businesses.

“We think this will work. We’re going to try it and see if the business opportunity is willing to give it a shot. We’re hopeful that it will work so we’ll wait and see,” Kruea said.

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