MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – The Republican tax bill passed last year may spur redevelopment in Myrtle Beach’s downtown Superblock. The area, near 9th Avenue North and Kings Highway, will be nominated by Governor Henry McMaster as a federal “opportunity zone,” Mayor Brenda Bethune confirmed Thursday night.

The “opportunity zones” use tax breaks to incentive development in “distressed communities.” Investors would pool money into “opportunity funds.” The United States Treasury Department would have to give final approval to the designation for Myrtle Beach, Bethune said.

The impact for Myrtle Beach wasn’t immediately clear.

Earlier Thursday, Bethune teased in a Facebook video, “we received some very exciting news that’s going to have a major impact on the Myrtle Beach area.” Bethune said she had been in Washington, DC.

Bethune thanked Governor Henry McMaster, Representative Tom Rice, and Senator Tim Scott in the video.

“The zones were included in the tax law by Senator Tim Scott,” the New York Times reported.

“In South Carolina we have seen some amazing growth and development over the past several years,” Scott wrote in an editorial for USA Today. “Companies are moving in, they’re creating good-paying jobs, and communities are feeling the effects of a promising economic tide. But this isn’t the reality for everyone.

“So the question then is — how do we spread opportunity to every corner of every community across our nation?” Scott wrote. “The solution isn’t nested in another tax-payer funded government program or initiative that fails to get to the root of the problem, but rather public-private partnerships that encourage long-term investment and continued success.

The Superblock area has been a subject of controversy in Myrtle Beach for years. The city bought out property owners last year for a library and children’s museum. After one of the primary backers of the plan, Mayor John Rhodes, was voted out of office, city officials expressed uncertainty about whether the projects would move forward. The city has since held multiple public meetings to discuss the area’s future. 

The governor is expected to also name other areas in South Carolina as “opportunity zones.” Bethune said he will hold a press conference Friday morning and she’ll hold a press conference “later.”