MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — Myrtle Beach City Council approved plans Thursday to allocate about $20 million toward downtown redevelopment.
The money for the projects will come from tax increment finance (TIF) revenue.
“We have a tax increment district that covers the downtown area; the Ocean Boulevard area,” City Spokesman Mark Kruea said. “The tax increment finance district sets a zero year and any growth in the property tax after that zero year can be used for a list of projects for the downtown area. So, the growth that is occurring with help pay for the bonds and then those bonds will help create more opportunities for additional property tax growth, so it creates a nice little circle. It’s not a new tax, it’s setting aside much like a savings account the property tax growth after an initial year.”
The city also used TIF revenue to finance the renovation of the old Myrtle Beach Air Force Base into the Market Common.
Leaders in the Downtown Development Office (DDO) plan to use the money for projects like a city square, a children’s museum and a performing arts theatre.
Right now, the DDO is wrapping up phase one of its masterplan, which outlined the restoration of buildings along 9th Avenue North.
“It’s taken a lot of time,” said Lauren Clever with the DDO. “There is a lot of backscene planning; conversations approvals; things that have to occur to even put a shovel in the ground. The idea is to keep those projects rolling. We’ve gotten through our first phase which is ninth avenue north and doing some renovations on those buildings and now we’re getting tenants in those buildings.”
The HTC Aspire Hub, a co-working space, is expected to open early in 2022 along 9th Avenue North. Additionally, a bakery called Le Manna Bread Company will open in a structure that was a bakery decades ago and has since been restored to be a historic property in the city.
The Myrtle Beach Downtown Alliance is a new 501(c)3 organization that city leaders say will, “be a companion piece to the work the city does,” President and CEO of the Alliance, Amy Barrett, said.
She said she hopes redevelopment in the area can speed up now that some momentum has been built.
“In the end of the day, the city is not going to be building apartments and offices,” Barrett said. “We need the private sector to come in and make those projects really take off so, I see that as part of the alliance’s mission to have those conversations with private investors about what their needs are and how we can make that happen.”
The next step is developing what city leaders call a “vision book” to outline what they believe downtown Myrtle Beach has the potential to be.
“It’s going to be full of data and specifics to show that what we say we want, is actually a viable project and the market supports it in Myrtle Beach,” Clever said.
She said the vision book should be released in the first quarter of 2022.