‘Gate­way to Myr­tle Beach’: What’s could be in the fu­ture for Myr­tle Beach Mall

The Sun News (Sunday) - - Front Page - BY TYLER FLEM­ING tflem­[email protected]­sun­news.com

With mo­men­tum to build I-73 grow­ing, a re­done shop­ping cen­ter at the mouth of S.C. 22 could wind up be­ing the first thing many see of the Myr­tle Beach area. And DDC En­gi­neers’ Mike Wooten said the project he pre­sented to Horry County Plan­ning Com­mis­sion would be a fine wel­come to the town.

“This will truly be the gate­way to Myr­tle Beach,” Wooten said.

The project could de­cide the fu­ture of the Myr­tle Beach Mall, con­vert­ing it to a place to both shop and sleep, pend­ing ap­proval from plan­ning of­fi­cials. On Thurs­day, the Horry County Plan­ning Com­mis­sion heard from Wooten, who is rep­re­sent- ing the prop­erty own­ers look­ing to build 100 dwelling units and am­ple com­mer­cial spaces.

The meet­ing was purely in­for­ma­tional and no vote was taken.

As it stands, Wooten said the mall’s foot traf­fic has slowed down and this plan is to in­crease the long-term eco­nomic suc­cess of the prop­erty. He said most stud­ies he has seen said shop­ping malls are not as vi­able as they once were, and this would re­turn the site to its pre­vi­ous glory.

“It was the hot place to shop,” Wooten said. “But over the last 20 years the rev­enue string for that mall has dropped dra­mat­i­cally.”

News that the mall would be re­de­vel­oped is not new. In Novem­ber, The Sun News re­ported the shop­ping cen­ter would be re-pur­posed for out­door shop­ping, but no specifics were given at the time.

The prop­erty is mostly the cur­rent Myr­tle Beach Mall lo­ca­tion, but it does in­clude some sur­round­ing prop­erty. The re­de­vel­op­ment would not greatly im­pact trav­el­ers along High­way 17 or the neigh­bor­hood ad­ja­cent to the mall, ex­cept for a few sig­nage changes. A buf­fer is re­quired be­tween the mall and the sur­round­ing prop­er­ties.

“This is fun, this is an ex­cit­ing project,” Wooten said.

Most of the project would still be com­mer­cial, per the devel­op­ment plan sub­mit­ted to staff. Cur­rently, the prop­erty is zoned to High­way Com-

mer­cial, which is a re­tired zon­ing code. The prop­erty own­ers are ask­ing to be changed to a Planned Devel­op­ment District, which al­lows for a mix of res­i­den­tial and com­mer- cial.

If the zon­ing is changed, ba­si­cally any store would be al­lowed to move in pend­ing ap­proval from the prop­erty own­ers. Some types of busi­nesses al­lowed un­der PDD are restau­rants, sa­lons, a va­ri­ety of stores, se­nior cen­ter or al­co­hol store. If ap­proved, the prop­erty own­ers would have a long list of po­ten­tial busi­ness that could move in.

Wooten said restau­rants and a bou­tique ho­tel are planned to come into the prop­erty. In ad­di­tion to homes and shops, the devel­op­ment plans in­clude nearly seven acres of open space to in­crease the recre­ational op­portu- ni­ties.

And for all the hunters and fish­ers who use the Bass Pro Shop for sup­plies, Wooten said the store would be ex­panded. The movie the­ater, Belk depart­ment store and other stores are also ex­pected to be in the new plan.

“Bring­ing a truly new di­men­sion to the wa­ter- way,” Wooten said of what his group has planned for the prop­erty.

When the mall was orig­i­nally built, Wooten said there wasn’t much to the wa­ter­way. Now it is an at­trac­tive place to build on given the in­creased recre­ational uses there.

“The cur­rent project takes no ad­van­tage of the wa­ter­way,” In­terim Plan­ning Di­rec­tor David Sch­w­erd said.

Plan­ning com­mis­sion will hear pub­lic com­ments on the project at this week’s meet­ing, and then com­mis­sion will vote.

JOSH BELL [email protected]­sun­news.com

The Myr­tle Beach Mall in the North Myr­tle Beach area.

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