MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Myrtle Beach city leaders met Wednesday with potential architects for the library and children’s museum to be built in the Superblock area of the city’s downtown space.
Myrtle Beach City Manager John Pedersen says construction for the project could start as soon as the New Year. Leaders hope to start demolition in the beginning of 2018, but they are still working to acquire three different buildings currently occupied by downtown businesses.
The center of downtown Myrtle Beach has sparked a lot of interest in the last year after Mayor John Rhodes announced in January the city’s plan to level the downtown area to build a new library and children’s museum.
However, with opposition from community members and business owners, plans to rebuild the downtown area have moved slowly.
“There are a lot of questions that we are still trying to deal with and put together a more specific funding plan,” admits Pedersen. “We don’t have a finalized one.”
Pedersen says right now, they’re trying to find an architect for the project, and until that happens, they won’t know how much the project will cost.
“Part of what the architect will do is to help us with that program. How big is the facility? What sort of accommodations need to be in it before it gets going?” explains Pedersen.
Myrtle Beach City Council approved the use of eminent domain if needed to take control of two businesses not willing to sell out – House Parts and Jack Thompson’s Studio and Gallery. Pedersen says the city is now also looking to buy Pizza De Roma in the back corner of the Superblock.
“I think everybody is familiar with the idea that there are two in what we believe will be the footprint of the building, or what we earlier indicated would be the footprint,” says Pedersen. “There’s also another one that’s adjacent to the old club Ibiza. That and the plan for the former club Ibiza, which we have acquired, is to demolish those structures and use that area for parking.”
Although the city needs the three business spaces to move forward with the downtown renovations as planned, Pedersen would not go so far as to say the city would attempt to take the lots through eminent domain in order to begin construction by the first of the year.
“No. City council has not established a deadline for that. So, no. I don’t want to put that out there because that’s not the case,” states Pedersen.
While none of the three business owners wanted to speak on camera, they all confirmed with News13 that they have not reached an agreement with the city and do not plan to go anywhere.