‘This is a win for the town’: Surfside Beach makes $50,000 tweak to pier design

Plans to revamp Surfside Pier are moving forward with town officials spending thousands to tweak the design they say will more than make up for the upfront cost.

During a special meeting on Friday, Surfside Town Council voted on a change that would move a staircase and eliminate one of two elevators from the construction plans, an engineering change that would cost nearly $50,000.

Mayor Bob Childs said the elevator that’s being eliminated likely would have cost $150,000 to build. Eliminating it would be a significant cost savings, he said.

Officials said the change is necessary to provide “better flow,” cost savings and additional room for leasable space.

“We will have to pay extra for the engineering changes, however, the construction will be less expensive because we’re eliminating one elevator, and also, we’ll have more rentable square footage, which obviously overtime we’ll get income from that,” Councilman David Pellegrino said. “There is a little cost up front, but in the long run there’s a financial benefit here.”

The wooden pier was partially destroyed during Hurricane Matthew in 2016. The storm also ripped off part of the Springmaid Pier in Myrtle Beach, which is currently undergoing reconstruction.

Surfside Beach Pier is snapped off on Saturday, Oct. 8, 2016, as high tide comes in and Hurricane Matthew goes north. Janet Blackmon Morgan jblackmon@thesunnews.com

Earlier this year, Surfside received a nearly $10 million grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help repair the pier. Additionally, officials are allocating $75,000 from both the accommodations tax and hospitality tax funds to the beach renourishment fund through 2021 that will go toward the construction.

Plans call for a new, concrete pier that will be raised about 10 feet higher, providing more protection from storm surge. Due to the height change, construction will require businesses currently on the pier to be torn down.

Town officials have previously said the businesses who operate on the pier will have to bid for their spot back.

Construction is expected to be completed in 2021.

FEMA granted the Town of Surfside nearly $10 million to rebuild the town’s pier. It was destroyed by Hurricane Matthew in 2016. Janet Blackmon Morgan jblackmon@thesunnews.com

Officials stressed on Friday that the decision to alter the pier’s design would generate more money in the future with more space available for future tenants. This is the best move for the town financially, Councilwoman Debbie Scoles said.

Officials said the eliminated elevator would have been oceanfront and stainless steel.

“We’re eliminating a $150,000 elevator and putting more marketable lease space that will be marketed out at market value, so this is a win for the town,” Councilman Randle Stevens said. “Anytime you have more leasable space you have more revenue, so that benefits us for the long run.”

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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.