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CCU students brainstorm over former Pavilion site

Published on December 2, 2007

Given a blank slate on 11 acres of oceanfront property in downtown Myrtle Beach - the size of The Pavilion Amusement Park site - what would you build?

And how would you make it work?

A class of resort tourism management students at Coastal Carolina University took on that challenge and presented a variety of ideas, including an indoor waterpark, a boardwalk, a high-end retail and spa complex, a covered amphitheater, a stationary wave for surfing and a large, man-made lake for a new waterskiing concept called cable skiing.

Every year, the professor, Taylor Damonte, picks a canvas with varied characteristics and sizes for the project. But this year, a living canvas exists in the heart of the city.

It's the first year after the demolition of the amusement park that became Myrtle Beach's signature attraction.

The class's property had significant differences (in the minds of city planners and architects) from The Pavilion site. Streets ran through the site's nine square blocks, whereas only Ocean Boulevard splits The Pavilion. In the hypothetical worlds of the students, those streets could be - and several were - eliminated by making concessions to the city.

Several of the five projects included expensive stores without a presence on the Grand Strand - Louis Vitton was a favorite pick - and often included a spa.

City officials and some local developers attended a presentation of the projects Thursday and picked the students brains. (Why, for example, was one named Tsunami? "You got to be able to turn a negative into a positive," was the intrepid student's answer).

Nobody from Burroughs & Chapin Co. Inc., which owns The Pavilion land, has seen any of the projects in any official capacity - though one of the students is the son of B&C's chief real estate officer. But the company would be willing to check them out, company spokesman Pat Dowling said.

"We've been getting ideas ever since it [The Pavilion] closed, ever since the announcement was made," he said.

B&C hasn't yet released details of what it will build on The Pavilion site. People from across the country have put in their two cents. Mothers wanted a year-round kiddie park, others wanted a giant Ferris wheel, and still others have made suggestions similar to some of the students' ideas - like a stationary surfing wave.

"They're on target with somebody's interests," Dowling said.