Could historic districts in Myrtle Beach spur downtown redevelopment?

The Sun News file photo
The Sun News file photo jbell@thesunnews.com

Downtown redevelopment could be spurred on if Myrtle Beach City Council votes to adopt a new historical district.

The district offers financial incentives to developers, giving them money to complete their projects. With the Superblock area at the forefront of city council's attention, the district could bring renewed interest to the area.

"I think that's where we're coming from with it, in that it is an incentive and it could be one of the tools that we use to encourage revitalization," Myrtle Beach Planning Director Carol Coleman said.

"Anytime you have revitalization of a specific area and a building, it kind of bleeds over into neighboring areas," she said. "If one block kind of starts raising the game a little bit, then the next block starts raising the game a little bit. And so, it is the trickle down effect, I would say."

The incentives come from a state level and a federal level. A developer who is looking for money to fund a project is matched up with an investor wanting tax credits, Coleman said.

"They match up the tax credits with the needed improvements for the building, and it becomes kind of a symbiotic relationship, and it allows the building improvements to be done," Coleman said. "So the revitalization can occur, but it doesn't limit the building from being used for what they want to use it for."

Coleman said the district would not limit redevelopment in any way, "because people are not obligated to respect the historic nature of it, so they could still go on with what they're doing with their buildings."

Once city leaders decide on where the district would run, they must work to get it on the national register before tax incentives can be received.

Coleman said city council will have to review the plan, but that these are just the first steps in the process.

"It just gives us a mechanism by which they can get money to do that that wouldn't be available," Coleman said.