Myrtle Beach City Council approves development of surf park, amphitheater

Updated: May. 12, 2020 at 11:26 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) – The Myrtle Beach City Council has given the go-ahead for a surf park and amphitheater to be built within the city.

City leaders approved a motion to enter into a lease agreement for the property located immediately south of Burroughs and Chapin Boulevard, between Grissom Parkway and the Myrtle Beach Sports Center, to American Surf Parks LLC for the purpose of developing a surf park and amphitheater on the site.

During a presentation at Tuesday’s virtual city council meeting, American Surf Parks CEO Jeff Skelley said the surf park and amphitheater would sit on a 20-acre piece of property and could accommodate professional and amateur surf contests, rock climbing contests, movie nights, and more.

“It’s going to add a missing link,” said Myrtle Beach Councilman John Krajc. “It’s going to create that bridge between the ocean and the convention center, all the way back to Broadway at the Beach along with Ocean Boulevard. Part of our pinnacle attraction line-up when people come and visit our beach."

The surf lagoon will be capable of creating up to 1,000 perfect waves per hour.

“If you try to surf in the ocean, it depends on what the waves are like that day. Here, you’ve got a consistent wave so you know what you’re going to get,” said Myrtle Beach City Manager John Pedersen.

Those good waves are something surfer Andrew Demalo is looking forward to.

“It was hard to surf here in Myrtle Beach. It’s not known for its best waves here. I think it’s going to grow this area tremendously, especially the surf community, so I’d like to see that,” Demalo said.

Councilmember Gregg Smith added that the amphitheater will up the city’s competitive edge for large scale musical events.

“The potential capacity is roughly 10,000 people. It’s going to add an opportunity to bring in acts that would normally pass Myrtle Beach by,” Smith said.

The proposed lease begins at $180,000 a year, with a 10% escalator every five years, according to information from the city. The proposed term of the lease is 15 years. The total cost of the project is estimated at $41 million.

But the money being used for the project won’t be coming out of Myrtle Beach or taxpayer’s pocket.

“This project is going to come at no cost to taxpayers. There is no capital outplayed by the city and the city is not the owner of the park, just the owner of the land. It’s not taxed because the city owns it,” Smith explained.

Tuesday’s vote comes after the city unanimously approved a motion last August to enter into a letter of intent with American Surf Parks.

Staff estimates the total projected tax revenues from the surf park alone are nearly $450,000 a year for phase one of the project.

Project leaders said renderings have been completed and they hope to have all funding and permitting in place by May 2021 to start the 18-month construction process.

“I think it’ll be an outstanding project and let me close by saying surf’s up,” Myrtle Beach Councilman Phil Render said during his remarks.

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