Myrtle Beach tries to attract businesses as downtown master plan moves forward

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MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – The city says it’s making progress redeveloping parts of downtown.

Improving Nance Plaza was part of the first phase of a plan to redevelop the old Superblock section of the city. Now, the city is hoping the nicer setting about a block from the oceanfront will motivate businesses to open up there.

As part of Thursday’s city council planning retreat, leaders gave updates on the downtown master plan, as the second phase is about to begin.

“We’ve had tremendous interest in the whole downtown master plan,” said city manager John Pedersen.

The second phase includes renovating buildings near 9th Avenue North and giving financial incentives to businesses moving in them.

“We will begin the leasing of those properties at about half of the market rate, about $6 a square foot,” Pedersen said. “Every year after that, it would go up about 10% until it caught up to the market rate.”

Those businesses would join other future locations like a microbrewery called Grand Strand Brewing Company and a performing arts theater, which will be run in partnership with Coastal Carolina University. The city says the goal is to finish construction and open the theater with CCU in the spring of 2022.

Pedersen says he hopes offering lower rent will attract different types of businesses and, eventually, more visitors to what’s now called “the arts and innovation district.”

“We had so much interest that if we just went first come, first serve, we could theoretically have five pizza restaurants next to each other,” he said. “The whole idea there is to achieve a diversity of uses.”

City council is expect to decide on phase two of the master plan at its next meeting on Tuesday.

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