Hotel at Springmaid Pier partially reopens, clean-up still underway

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Area beaches took a hard hit during Hurricane Matthew, huge piles of debris were left behind after the storm swept most of the Springmaid Pier into the sea.

The Hilton Doubltree, which owns Springmaid Pier, had been closed since evacuation orders were first issued nearly two weeks ago, but were able to partially reopen one of the towers Wednesday afternoon.

The hotel suffered water damage during the storm and has been using hot blowers to dry out; but the damage at the resort was minor compared to the nearby pier.

Springmaid Pier was the longest over-water pier in South Carolina, now only about 100 feet remain of the 1,068 foot structure.

There’s no decision yet on whether to tear it down and start over, or build on to what’s left.  springmaid-pier2

“We’re going to have to work through the office of coastal resource management and the corp of engineers, we’ll get that figured out; but we’ve got people working on it right now so we’re hoping to get started real soon,” said Mike Frits, the GM of Hilton Doubletree.

It’s going to take six months to rebuild once construction starts, but there is still a large amount of material that needs to be removed.

Special permits had to be authorized to allow the heavy machinery necessary for the project onto the beach.

Frits said he hopes to rebuild by the next tourist season, so he has his crews working as quickly as possible to clean up.

“It’s really important to folks in this city and we want to make sure we get it rebuilt and do it justice for them,” said Frits.

Frits said he wants its back up as soon as possible, since it’s a special place for many people in the area.

“I was really surprised the amount of people that have come out and expressed their feelings about the loss of the pier, a lot of folks that have gotten married or engaged out there, a lot of people that met their spouses out there,” said Frits.

There is no word on the price tag for the project until all the assessments are complete.

All of this damage comes just a year after the former Springmaid Resort was completely remodeled, following Hilton’s $40 million purchase of the 30 acre property back in 2014.

It will be the fourth time the Springmaid Pier will be rebuilt, three times it was struck by Hurricanes, and back in the 1950’s a plane crashed into it, completely destroying the pier.