Plans to revitalize Myrtle Beach’s downtown are coming to fruition with businesses planning to open next year in the city’s newly established zoning district.
Myrtle Beach City Council on Tuesday approved the first reading of an ordinance that would see two new businesses — a microbrewery and a maker-and-event space — join the city’s Arts & Innovation District, a new zoning designation established last month as part of the city’s Downtown Master Plan.
“We took a risk about a year-and-a-half ago to look at a Downtown Master Plan, and look at a vision for the future of Myrtle Beach,” Mayor Brenda Bethune said. “Today, we can say that Myrtle Beach is at the cusp of a renaissance.”
The master plan, which was approved in March, aims to bring change to and revitalize four districts: Oceanfront, Kings Highway, Historic Main Street and an Arts District. The Arts & Innovation District includes approximately 56 acres with 115 parcels along Main Street, Broadway Street, Oak Street and 9th Avenue North.
With officials looking for the Arts District to be a year-round, walkable, mixed-use urban destination that will serve as the hub of artistic, cultural and civic life for both residents and visitors to enjoy, city leaders authorized the sale of 819 N. Kings Highway to GSB Properties, LLC, for $453,000, an amount which equals the city’s purchase price.
According to the ordinance, with the accumulated interest, the city expects to receive $475,150 for the property.
City Manager John Pedersen noted that 40 percent of the cost of the project will be covered by state and federal historic tax credits with it qualifying as a contributing property to the historic tax district.
The two-story building that fronts Nance Plaza will be home to Grand Strand Brewing Company, which will occupy the first floor, while the second floor will house The Maker Exchange, a creative space for community events, art classes and more. Officials said the businesses’ goal is to be open by summer 2020 in a newly renovated space.
Grand Strand Brewing Company, a South Carolina-based team, plan to produce a variety of handmade beers, which will be available in its taproom. Construction plans ultimately call for a small, commercial kitchen on site where local chefs and restaurants can prepare food to pair with the craft beer selection.
Project architect Luke Jarrett said he plans to keep the building’s unique nature and history in tact while also looking to bring vitality back to the downtown.
“The building will not look different, it’ll look better,” Jarrett said.
Lauren Riddei, an interior designer, and Kendall Seagroves, a graphic designer, both the owners and operators of The Maker Exchange, said they plan to transom the second floor into 7,000 square feet of event space, including two flexible conference rooms and a catering prep kitchen.
The site will also function as a space that can host weddings, special events, artisan pop-up classes, community workshops and other gatherings.
“Our vision is to cultivate creative opportunity and community connection all under one historic roof,” Riddei said. “We really believe The Maker Exchange is going to be a dynamic hub for our community to exchange experiences, to exchange possibilities and ideas and connections.”
Seagroves added that both are excited to bring a female-owned business to the heart of the downtown.
Both businesses will join Mashburn Construction, which in August became the first business to purchase land within the arts district. City officials sold the property, located at 807 N. Kings Highway, for $159,000.
Plans to create a co-work and event space on 9th Avenue North are also underway with the city’s Technology Advisory Board partnering with HTC.
“People are interested in being here,” said Lauren Clever, executive director of the Myrtle Beach Downtown Redevelopment Corporation. “We definitely have people’s attention, so that’s exciting.”