City leaders have been debating what should go in the Superblock area of downtown Myrtle Beach, and on Wednesday the first conceptual plans for the area were revealed.
The plans, which were created by LS3P, show the properties that border Nance Plaza becoming a children’s museum, excluding House Parts, LLC and Myrtle Beach photographer Jack Thompson’s studio. The properties along 9th Ave. North could be converted into a library.
The children’s museum would be two stories high, and the library would be four stories. On the second floor of the library, plans show an exhibit hall and a covered terrace. The third floor shows space for classrooms and office space. The fourth floor would be a roof garden and observation deck that would have a view of the ocean.
“Today, LS3P presented a concept of what a potential project could look like including the buildings that the [Myrtle Beach Downtown Redevelopment Corporation] and city own,” Lauren Clever, executive director of the DRC, said. “That’s exactly what it was. A concept, not a design. It’s just basically showing you the space where that project can sit.
“I think the project has potential. Again, it’s just a concept so they’re just a few ideas of what it could be, you know, a cool thing is that the children’s museum is re-purposing buildings, so it’s being placed in the properties that are currently there. The library, of course, is incorporating all of Ninth Avenue. It’s a library, it could be exhibit space, it could be a gallery space, it could be event space, it talks about classroom space for CCU, for their needs and for other needs. Of course, there’s the rooftop that could potential be used for just about anything.”
Parking for the area would be behind the buildings where parking already exists, making the entrance to the museum and library at the back of the building. Entrances to the building would also be placed off Nance Plaza and 9th Ave North.
The plans do not account for space for a performance arts center for Coastal Carolina University, which expressed interest in the building at 811 Main Street, nor the two properties to the left and right for classroom space.
A cost has not yet been figured out for the design presented. Moving forward, Clever said that John Pedersen, city manager, presented the plans to city council, but that no final decisions have been made at this point.
“I think based on the meeting today, it all goes back to council and where’s the vision and where’s the plan and where do we go from here,” Clever said. “There’s some ideas floating around out there. These are some things that could potentially happen.”
Prior to the presentation, city council, along with Clever, took a trip to Columbia to tour EdVenture, the children’s museum and downtown Greenville that was recently revitalized. EdVenture recently partnered with the Children’s Museum of South Carolina, located in Myrtle Beach.
Plans for the Superblock had been put on hold during the 2017 mayoral and city council elections. Former Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes announced plans for a new children’s museum and library in the Superblock area.
However, the plans were met with anger from residents in the area after the DRC started buying properties. Two businesses – House Parts, LLC and Jack Thompson’s studio – refused to move and the city responded with the threat of eminent domain.
During a city council meeting this week, members voted to rescind the threat of eminent domain from the two properties.