Asian Wonderland not on track for planned May opening in Myrtle Beach

02/05/2013 9:37 AM

02/05/2013 2:53 PM

Developers of a proposed Asian-themed attraction in Myrtle Beach are still working to line up a site and financing for the project, which is not on track to open in May as originally planned.

There are a number of pieces that need to fall in place for the proposed “Asian Wonderland” to open at all in Myrtle Beach. The developers, Pace Inc. and GL Enterprises, which announced their plans to build the attraction here during a news conference in September, still need to secure a place to build it and line up financing, said Marvin Heyd, a local Realtor who has been working with the developers.

The venue, which officials said in September would cost between $15 million and $20 million to build, would include a mix of tents and permanent buildings with a lantern display, performance stages and other components. Officials with Pace Inc. and GL Enterprises did not respond to emailed questions.

“I really don’t see it opening until 2014 if all the funding is in place and the landowner commits to selling the property,” Heyd said. “We are closer to making it happen than we were four months ago.”

City spokesman Mark Kruea said the attraction has potential, but the city is waiting for it to become a more definite project before getting too excited.

“It’s an interesting idea,” he said. “This one needs a footprint in order to take the next step.”

The developers are eyeing the former Myrtle Square Mall site, owned by Burroughs & Chapin Co. Inc. between Kings Highway and Oak Street, as well as land behind the Myrtle Beach Convention Center, part of which is owned by the city and part owned by B&C, Heyd said.

At least one of the sites the group is eyeing likely won’t work. The city has plans for the land it owns behind the convention center, with talk of possibly an amphitheater or indoor sports complex being built there, Kruea said.

“The city has other potential uses for that property,” he said.

B&C declined to talk about whether it would sell or lease property to the Asian Wonderland developers.

“As with any company that brings investment and jobs to Myrtle Beach, Burroughs & Chapin Co. Inc. welcomes Asian Wonderland. We hope that they are successful wherever they choose to locate in Myrtle Beach,” B&C spokeswoman Lei Gainer said in an email, repeating the same statement B&C issued in the fall after the Asian Wonderland news conference.

Once a site is secured for the attraction, it likely would take between six and nine months to get engineering drawings and needed city approvals before construction could start, Heyd said.

But it isn’t certain that all the pieces will fall into place so the idea becomes reality.

“We think it will be but you never know,” Heyd said. “They are still hopeful they are going to be able to do it.”

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