MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — Myrtle Beach City Council voted Tuesday to demolish the Coral Sands Motel.
Council passed Motions 2021-158 and 2021-159 to demolish buildings 301, 302, and 303 of the Coral Sands Motel after deeming the cost of repairs too high in relation to assessed value of the property from Horry County land records. The hearing took nearly two hours.
The Coral Sands Motel owner, Harkishin Bhambhani, and his lawyer were at the meeting and wanted to establish a timeline that the city would agree to for making the necessary repairs. Bhambhani wanted 90 days to make the repairs.
John Krajc and Jackie Hatley wanted to allow Bhambhani to come up with an engineering report within 60 days without allowing construction on the property for the next 11 months to comply with a judge’s order shutting down the Coral Sands Motel for one year.
The motel was deemed a nuisance due to the “alarming” number of calls for drugs and prostitution.
These motions are separate from the judge’s order, and was due to a list of code violations and “structure damage.” The buildings faced serious structural and electrical issues, a building inspector said. Bhambhani and his lawyer said those claims are unfounded.
“There’s no structural issues, period,” Bhambhani said. “The electrical issues they showed you is fiexed by a certified electrician.”
Mayor Brenda Bethune said he’s had plenty of time to bring the building up to code.
“If Mr. Bhambhani cared so much about this property he would’ve been bringing it up to code all along, not waiting to get a letter,” Bethune said. “Not waiting for the solicitor to step in, and not waiting for us to make a motion. He clearly does not care about his property or its condition.”
Michael Chestnut introduced the motion to demolish the buildings. Bethune, Mike Lowder, and Gregg Smith all voted in favor of the motion. Philip Render was not present.
The demolition won’t take place until all necessary permits go through, which could take some time. The demolition could be appealed and a court could order an injunction, but it’s the city’s will that the buildings come down.
The Myrtle Beach Police Department began an investigation of the Coral Sands in March. “This investigation determined most of the guests at the Coral Sands use the Motel to distribute illegal drugs and engage in prostitution,” the petition stated.
The petition stated “management and security purchase illegal drugs from tenants and provide discounts on rooms in exchange for drugs and sex acts. Management also accepts bribes in exchange for allowing people to sell drugs at the Coral Sands and has a room set aside for drug use and prostitution.”