This designation could mean millions for downtown Myrtle Beach. Here’s what we know

Development could be on the horizon for Myrtle Beach’s downtown district as it awaits historic designation.

After city leaders approved the Downtown Masterplan in March, officials have been eager to redevelop and revitalize portions of downtown Myrtle Beach. Part of that revitalization includes preserving the city’s history.

“Myrtle Beach has very little history, but the history that we do have is special,” Mayor Brenda Bethune said. “We’re going to make this part of town, that has always been the heart of Myrtle Beach, a place where people want to live, work, invest and do business.”

During a workshop held Wednesday with the Myrtle Beach Redevelopment Corporation, officials said receiving a historic designation would allow certain structures to receive 25 percent state historic tax credit, 20 percent federal historic tax credits, and a 10-year city tax credit abatement through the Bailey Bill.

Abandoned buildings, which are 60 percent empty, could also receive a 25 percent abandoned building credit.

Preservation Consultant Janie Campbell explained if a historic hotel with a $1 million purchase price requires a $4 million rehabilitation, the investor would likely receive $1.8 million in tax credits.

Campbell said the state and federal tax credit will apply to any renovations done to the interior of the building. Site work, including landscaping, paving, additions or work done to a non-historic part of the building will not be covered, Campbell said.

A historic designation won’t place restrictions or limitations on the development of a building, she said. Restrictions will only apply if the property owner receives state and federal tax credits for redevelopment.

“That’s the only time that anybody can tell you what to do with your building,” Campbell said.

Last month, the South Carolina Department of Archives and History unanimously voted in favor of putting the city’s historic district on the nomination list for the National Register of Historic Places. The nomination is comprised of structures associated with development in Myrtle Beach, spanning from 1927 to 1969.

It includes portions of Main Street, Oak Street, Broadway Street, North Kings Highway and 8th and 9th avenues North.

In total, 18 contributing buildings and eight non-contributing buildings are under review, the former including any building or structure which adds to the historical integrity of a historic district. The latter is a structure that is obscured and altered from its original appearance or holds no historical significance.

A structure could classify as contributing if the building has the ability to have its modern elements reverted back to its historic appearance, Campbell said.

Lauren Clever, executive director of the Downtown Redevelopment Corporation, said the city will find out in a few weeks if it received the historic accreditation.

Bethune noted if the city obtains the historic designation and approximately $420 million in private investments, it will bring life and vitality back to the downtown.

“That’s huge for all of us because it’s going to raise our property values, your property values, but it’s also going to benefit the entire city,” Bethune said. “They (the buildings) all have a great history, but let’s show them some love and by doing so, we’re going to revitalize this entire city.”

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Anna Young is the Coastal Cities reporter for The Sun News covering anything and everything that happens locally. Young, an award-winning journalist who got her start reporting local news in New York, is dedicated to upholding the values of journalism by listening, learning, seeking out the truth and reporting it accurately. She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from SUNY Purchase College.