B&C in talks to buy Barefoot Landing in North Myrtle Beach

Burroughs & Chapin Co. Inc., which owns Broadway at the Beach, Grande Dunes and other developments along the Grand Strand, has made an offer to buy Barefoot Landing in North Myrtle Beach, according to a memo some tenants received Friday.

Some store owners and managers in the North Myrtle Beach shopping, restaurant and entertainment complex said that the center has been looking for a buyer for some time, but that this is the first time tenants have received a memo naming a company that may be contacting them to get feedback.

The purchase isn’t a done deal, and no terms of the negotiations were given. Barefoot Landing management and B&C declined to comment Friday.

“Landlord has been presented a preliminary offer from Burroughs & Chapin to purchase the shopping center,” according to the Friday memo. “As a potential buyer, Burroughs & Chapin Co. has begun its due diligence process. As a part of this process, representatives with Burroughs & Chapin Co. may be contacting you to discuss your Barefoot Landing experience and your future plans at this shopping center.”

Barefoot Landing, which opened in 1988, is home to House of Blues, Alabama Theatre, Flying Fish, Alligator Adventure and other stores, restaurants and attractions surrounding a 27-acre lake. It opened years before B&C’s Broadway at the Beach in Myrtle Beach, which opened in 1995 and is a similar outdoor shopping and entertainment hub as Barefoot Landing.

B&C, a Myrtle Beach-based company, owns Broadway, Grande Dunes and other shopping centers including South Strand Commons at S.C. 544. It also owns two large vacant tracts in Myrtle Beach: oceanfront at Ninth Avenue North where The Myrtle Beach Pavilion Amusement Park stood until it was torn down in 2006 and the site between Oak Street and Kings Highway across from the Myrtle Beach Convention Center where Myrtle Square Mall stood until B&C opened Coastal Grand Mall in partnership with CBL & Associates Properties.

Some store owners and managers at Barefoot Landing had different opinions on the potential sale to B&C, with some welcoming the idea of new owners - especially with a name as well known as B&C -- while others said that Barefoot Landing is doing just fine under Sammy Puglia, the complex’s current owner. Several store owners and managers said they hadn’t heard that B&C was interested in Barefoot Landing.

“I’m cautiously optimistic,” said Rick Kligman, which owns Klig’s Kites at Barefoot and Broadway. “They seem to have some resources that could be very helpful.”

B&C likely could bring new tenants to Barefoot and better maintain the property, including repairing some of the wooden boardwalk, said Jennifer Oakley, manager of Boardwalk Coffee House at Barefoot Landing.

“It seems like it would be a nice change,” she said. “They could definitely breathe new life into the place.”

Jonathan Preusser, an operating partner of Candy Mike’s at Barefoot, said he wasn’t surprised that B&C is interested in buying Barefoot judging by the success it’s had at Broadway. He’s concerned, though, that it might give B&C too much control, he said.

“They probably see profit off of Broadway and could make this Broadway Part Two up here,” Preusser said. “I would have some concerns because it would be almost a monopoly.”

Brandon Todd, manager of The Olive Shoppe who has worked at various stores at Barefoot for about 20 years, said he didn’t want B&C to buy Barefoot because it’s let other high-profile land in Myrtle Beach, especially the former Pavilion site, sit empty for years.

“I think they have enough,” he said. “Barefoot has done fine on its own.”