Myrtle Beach says Palace Theatre could be ‘unfit for human occupancy’

The Palace Theatre on U.S. 17 has been deemed possibly “unfit for human occupancy” in a legal notice filed by the city of Myrtle Beach, which has told the owners that something needs to be done about the building.

The facade of the Palace was severely damaged in Hurricane Matthew last year, and the building also sustained water damage. Since then, it has sat, rain or shine, with a significant portion of its highway-facing wall ripped off.

“We’ve certainly notified the Palace Theatre that it needs to make the repairs or demolish the building,” City Spokesman Mark Kruea said. “It’s time to fix it or make it go away.”

Residents and business owners talk about their experiences during Hurricane Matthew and the aftermath of their homes and businesses at Broadway at the Beach.

Jay Lodge, chief executive officer of the Palace Theatre and Spirit Productions USA, could not be reached by phone.

The legal notice to the Palace, provided by Kruea, says that after an inspection of the building on Jan. 10, it was determined to be in violation of several aspects of building code, many having to do with its damaged facade. The action is dated Jan. 31 in a court coversheet.

Earlier this year, some customers of the Palace had been left wondering if they would be able to go to 2017 shows they had bought tickets for far in advance.

Lodge told The Sun News in January that the company was trying to “sort things out with insurance.”

Four days after that conversation, Myrtle Beach filed its notice in court.

Kruea said a public hearing on the matter is expected in early April.

Chloe Johnson: 843-626-0381, @_ChloeAJ