Developers of one of the fastest growing areas of Myrtle Beach ruffled a few feathers among The Market Common neighbors when they proposed to cut back on plans for future retail and add more residences to the urban village.
Developers say they have no choice and are simply bending to market demands, but residents and business owners argue the proposed developments will create a parking nightmare.
The change in plans eliminates a future lot of 100 parking spaces, which was earmarked for future retail, and takes out one on-street spot to add more townhomes and single family residences.
Ed Carey, who lives in The Market Common, warned that when the village is built out, parking is going to disappear.
“When these lots are taken, they’re going to be gone,” he said. “We’re not going to get that land back.”
One of Carey’s neighbors, Robert Davis, said he didn’t see parking as a current problem in The Market Common.
I think Market Common is working out great. My problem is, it’s almost working out too good and it’s not going to stop. We’ve got a snowball going down the mountain and it’s getting bigger.
Phil Pecora, owner of Toffino’s Italian Bakery & Deli
“To me, parking is a dream here,” he said, compared to another new urbanism community of live, work and play units in Washington, D.C., where Davis once lived.
But even though it may not be a current problem, Toffino’s Italian Bakery & Deli owner Phil Pecora says it will be an issue as The Market Common continues to grow.
“I was there before the beginning of the beginning of Market Common,” Pecora said. “I think Market Common is working out great. My problem is, it’s almost working out too good and it’s not going to stop. We’ve got a snowball going down the mountain and it’s getting bigger.”
As more people come for special events, tournaments at Grand Park and other events at The Market Common, the lack of parking will become more evident, he said. Pecora urged city leaders to deal with the parking issue now before approving more changes to the master plan that lead to more development.
Developers agreed to reexamine the master plan for The Market Common and establish a subcommittee with residents to address parking issues and other concerns raised under the plan.
We’ve got developers, we’ve got owners, we’ve got residents and everybody trying to get on the same sheet of music. You may not be singing the same notes but you’re on the same sheet of music.
Mike Lowder, Myrtle Beach mayor pro tem
City manager John Pedersen said that the city will also work with the developer to make sure the language of the plans will keep future architecture consistent with current architecture.
Myrtle Beach City Council passed the first reading of an ordinance setting The Market Common master plan changes at its meeting Tuesday afternoon. If the ordinance passes a final, second reading, the plans for 33 live/work units will be converted to 23 townhomes and a past proposal of 88 townhomes will be changed to 50 single family homes.
The idea to scrap the live/work units didn’t sit well with Carey, who had asked developers for time to try to sell the concept to future tenants that could add to The Market Common’s vibrant mix.
But Chris Foulger of the HomeFed Corp. that owns The Market Common and its land to be developed said the new urbanism vibe and romantic notion of having a shop downstairs and the shopkeeper’s living quarters upstairs is becoming harder to sell.
I think we’ve reached the demand that is naturally there and we don’t want to force more commercial into it to cannibalize the existing retailers both in live/work and in the core of the Market Common.
Chris Foulger, with HomeFed Corp., owner of Market Common
“The live/work are difficult to finance both from a construction financing perspective and also permanent financing,” he said. “When you’re mixing commercial and residential it becomes very difficult with building codes and also restrictions that the GSA (U.S. General Services Administration) put on regarding finance. We also believe that we have enough retail on the ground in The Market Common right now.”
The demand for more retail just isn’t there, he said.
“We haven’t seen the demand. I think we’ve reached the demand that is naturally there and we don’t want to force more commercial into it to cannibalize the existing retailers both in live/work and in the core of The Market Common,” Foulger said.
City leaders said they were glad to see the developers listening to the community and striving to work together to address concerns.
“At the end of the day what we want is what will work for the community and sometimes … plans change and then sometimes it takes a little bit of give and take and compromise,” said Mayor pro tem Mike Lowder. “We’ve got developers, we’ve got owners, we’ve got residents and everybody trying to get on the same sheet of music. You may not be singing the same notes but you’re on the same sheet of music.”