‘We’re open for business’: Myrtle Beach pitches opportunity zones to potential investors

Mayor Bethune announces ‘opportunity zones’ for Myrtle Beach

Mayor Brenda Bethune announces the 'opportunity zone' incentives for economically challenged areas of Myrtle Beach.
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Mayor Brenda Bethune announces the 'opportunity zone' incentives for economically challenged areas of Myrtle Beach.

As Myrtle Beach works to boost its reputation as a prime tourist destination, city officials are actively promoting the area to entice developers to invest in opportunity zones.

With two opportunity zones in the heart of Myrtle Beach, city leaders hosted nearly 100 potential investors at Breakers Resort on Friday to showcase land available for development and refurbishment.

An opportunity zone focuses on areas that qualify as distressed or severely distressed, and allows for investments in those areas to benefit from significantly reduced or delayed capital gains taxes. Myrtle Beach has two opportunity zones that include two miles of oceanfront property and a majority of the downtown.

Mayor Brenda Bethune hyped the city as a great place to do business.

“We do have the best opportunity zones in the country,” Bethune said. “A major portion of our opportunity zones are located on oceanfront property or property that has a view of the Atlantic Ocean, and I don’t know of any other state in the country that can say that.”

The opportunity zone includes 21st Avenue South to U.S. 501 from Ocean Boulevard west to U.S. 17 Bypass.

“There’s a lot of opportunity along 501,” Lauren Clever, executive director for the Myrtle Beach Downtown Redevelopment Corporation, said during a bus tour of the community.

The opportunity zone offers two income tax incentives for the underlying capital gain, officials said. Any invested capital gains will be deferred until the sale of the investment or Dec. 31, 2026.

Investments owned for at least five years will receive a 10 percent increase in basis, with an additional 5 percent if held for at least seven years. If an opportunity fund investment is held for at least 10 years, there will be no capital gain on the appreciation of the investment.

“Every incentive we have can be built on top of one another. I think that’s very important,” Assistant City Manager Fox Simons said. “We’re very strong, very sound financially, and we’re open for business.”

Officials said the equity investment must be made by the end of 2019 in order to get the full tax credits.

Laura Crowther, CEO of Coastal Carolinas Association of Realtors, emphasized how Myrtle Beach is the second-fastest growing metropolitan area in the country. With that growth, she said the city has investment opportunities with potential to accommodate the increasing number of people moving into the area and the roughly 20 million visitors who frequent the area annually.

“We have a lot of wonderful things going on here in the community,” Crowther said. “We need to make sure that we have not only the houses for them but we need to make sure we have the businesses, and we are providing investment opportunities for people to come and invest in our community so we will be poised and ready for these individuals as they make Myrtle Beach their home.”