Empty oceanfront properties in Atlantic Beach: Why and how the town wants to see redevelopment

Grand Strand

ATLANTIC BEACH, SC (WBTW) – The Town of Atlantic Beach has multiple, empty, ocean-front properties waiting to be auctioned off for a minimum purchase price of $1.6 million. 

WBTW spoke with the town about why there are eight empty lots so close to the ocean and how the town wants to see them redevelop. Town Manager, Benjamin Quattlebaum, said when Hurricane Hazel hit in 1954, the town never fully recovered, but in 2006, some of the oceanfront properties were purchased with the intent to do some redevelopment. 

Quattlebaum said the downfall of the economy in 2007 stopped the redevelopment project. Now, the company who owns the land is dissolving and Quattlebaum said a court order was put in place to sell the properties. From that point, the land was placed on the Fisher Auction, and a bid was made in early July for $705,000. The owners did not want to accept that price, so the eight properties are back on the market for a minimum purchase price of $1.6 million. 

Along with the eight lots up for auction, the town said nearly 65 percent of the properties in Atlantic Beach are vacant. Quattlebaum said they would’ve already liked to see change, but he has received multiple inquiries from investors about the empty oceanfront lots. He said the town would like to see major commercial development happen on the boulevard. “From hotels to restaurants, to any type of commercial development that will improve and bring our tax base up, as well as the value of the property, property owners, and the town of Atlantic Beach,” said Quattlebaum. 

There are a few challenges that go along with getting someone to invest in the empty properties, according to Quattlebaum. One issue is the fact that all eight properties for sale are not connected, which makes it harder to develop. “Even though it’s the majority of the waterfront, there are three other property owners that are still owners of property on that waterfront,” said Quattlebaum. “It would be difficult in situations to get some of those current property owners of those other parcels to sell at a price that is reasonable to make it worth developing.” 

He also mentioned in Atlantic Beach, Ocean Blvd. is closed off from North Myrtle Beach, so there isn’t easy connectivity going up and down the boulevard. This has been seen as a developmental challenge for some investors as well. Quattlebaum said when the properties are purchased, the town will consider opening up Ocean Blvd. to connect to North Myrtle Beach. 
To view the full description of the properties for sale, click here. 

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