Downtown getting a blast from the past with transformation of old Broadway Theater

Published: Sep. 14, 2022 at 9:26 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 16, 2022 at 11:48 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - The city plans to bring some charm from the 50′s and 60′s into the transformation of the Arts and Innovation District.

Back in 2019, the city bought the old Broadway Theater, J&J Drug Store and Helen Mates Ladies’ Department Store buildings located downtown.

The theater, drug store and department store all thrived back in the 50′s and 60′s, and now the city wants to take the current buildings and transform them to look just like they did back then.

While the outside will have an old-school charm, the inside will be completely renovated.

All three buildings will be combined and open up into one 300-seat performing arts center.

Brian Tucker, Myrtle Beach Assistant City Manager, said this space will bring thousands of people to the Arts and Innovation District and be completely different from other performing arts venues in the Grand Strand.

“This is for smaller niche performances. It’s for Coastal Carolina to have their performing arts students perform, and it’s downtown. I think it brings different types of art. It brings educational opportunities, and it brings a desperately needed meeting venue,” said Tucker.

This project is in partnership with Coastal Carolina University.

So, the city oversees construction, and CCU will operate the facility.

Tucker said they hope to make the space something the entire community can use every day.

“The facility is designed to accommodate lots of different types of events from official box office performances of some play or musical all the way to corporate meetings or social gatherings,” said Tucker.

The city is currently finalizing agreements with CCU on how often the space will be used.

The city wants to use it as much as possible and have the theater running 300 days a year.

After those agreements are finalized, the city will move into the pre-construction phase opening bids to contractors.

The project is currently estimated to cost between $13-$15 million but a better estimate will be provided once a contractor is chosen.

The city hopes to have the project finished in the summer of 2024.