Golf

Once dead, a deal for an outdoor entertainment complex on former golf course is back

The entrance sign to Black Bear Golf Club in Longs is being overtaken by weeds on July 11.
The entrance sign to Black Bear Golf Club in Longs is being overtaken by weeds on July 11. jbell@thesunnews.com

A proposed RV park and outdoor entertainment development on the site of the closed Black Bear Golf Club off Highway 9 in Longs has been revived.

Developers of the proposed 196-acre complex had a sales contract on the property and received the necessary zoning from Horry County Council in January to move forward with their plans.

But Steve Powell with developer Venture Engineering Inc., who said he is a minority partner in the project, said the primary investor backed out and the sales contract lapsed around March.

New investors have been found, and another sales contract was signed Friday, according to Powell and property owner Kang Zou.

“A new group has come in and they have the funding and ability to make this all happen,” said Powell, who said the sales price approaches $1.5 million. Zou said Tuesday the price is less than $1.5 million.

Development plans include housing, an RV park, two paved asphalt go-kart tracks for high-speed racing, ATV and BMW off-road bicycle trails, and a unique water park.

“Our group never quit trying to put this together,” Powell said. “It’s a little too exciting to bail on that easily. We just had to find somebody that was as excited about it as we were.”

Powell hopes to close the sale by the fall, sell the lots to a builder by next spring and begin construction on the ATV/BMX trails, water park, amateur go-kart track and first phase of the RV park next year, with some of the attractions opening by spring 2020.

He expects to open a pro go-kart track two or three years after the amateur track.

“Everything we’re doing out here is a little bit more exciting than your typical go-kart track, a little bit more exciting than your typical water park,” Powell said. “. . . An 18- to a 48-year-old is not ever going to get bored out here. It will just have different activities.”

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An early engineer’s drawing of a proposed outdoor recreation complex at the former Black Bear Golf Club. Venture Engineering Inc.

Full plans for the property aren’t finalized, but Powell believes the “arrive and drive” amateur go-kart track will be nearly a mile long and 30 feet wide with mild turns, with carts that might reach speeds of 45 mph. Carts will be equipped with live-streaming cameras so friends and family of drivers can follow along on monitors, and drivers can later view their performance.

The pro racing track should be more than a mile with sharper turns and karts that might reach 70 mph.

A go-kart race building is expected to be centered between the two tracks with viewing decks overlooking and possibly hovering above parts of both tracks.

The go-kart tracks are the vision of Conway pro kart racer Matt Bryant of Palmetto Speed Shop, who Powell said is also a minority partner.

“Our plan is to have our two pit areas underneath the racing building,” Powell said. “It will be supported on columns up in the air, so the race building viewing area will be from cantilever decks that are almost hanging over the edge of the track. So the proximity you’ll have to the racing when the karts whip by the starting line every time is going to be unparalleled.

“We’re trying to make this a great experience for the drivers and for the viewers.”

Developers hope to regularly host pro go-kart races, including invitationals up to a few times a year that might attract numerous racers from Europe and across the U.S., including current and former NASCAR drivers.

Nearly 100 single-family home lots will run near or along S.C. 9 on the west side of the property, which Powell plans to sell to a homebuilder.

The ATV and BMX off-road bike trails will cover approximately 15 acres between the housing and go-kart tracks.

A watersports recreation area is expected to include a lake, unique slides and other attractions. “Our plan at this point is to have a recreational lake with some unique slides and other features,” Powell said. “We have about a dozen different things in consideration right now that really don’t exist at other parks.”

The RV park on the northeast side of the property should have at least 150 vehicle spaces.

A new entrance road into the property off S.C. 9 is planned along and/or through the housing, and Powell expects to reopen the old Black Bear clubhouse and bar/restaurant, build a 10-foot berm along the border of the property near the kart and ATV tracks, and maintain existing golf course cart paths for carts, bikes and walking. Bikes will be available to RV campers.

“If you came to spend a week in the RV park . . . you really don’t ever have to leave, and that’s part of what we’re trying to do is have kind of a destination recreation complex,” Powell said.

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