Another piece of Myrtle Beach history bit the dust Monday to make way for a new candy shop along Ocean Boulevard, the latest in a growing trend of redevelopment in the city’s tourist core.
Crews tore down an old boarding house at 919 N. Ocean Boulevard, which most recently had been a beachwear store and ice cream shop, in between Ripley’s Moving Theater and Nightmare Haunted House. The building, which officials say dates back at least to the 1940s, also had been the Candy Castle, a magic shop and rooming house.
Candy will again rule this corner, with the demolition making way for a new 6,000-square-foot building that will house a candy store and ice cream shop dubbed I Love Sugar. The new store, which plans to have a colorful, candy-inspired facade, aims to open by late spring, said Bill Prescott, who owns the property.
Construction should take about four or five months, said Jim Hubbard with Pegram & Associates, the architect on the project. Hubbard, also a member of Myrtle Beach’s Community Appearance Board, recused himself on CAB discussions and votes on the project.
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The project is the latest example of redevelopment in Myrtle Beach’s amusement hub, a trend officials say was sparked by the 1.2-mile boardwalk opening two years ago combined with a slowly improving economy.
“We are seeing this kind of redevelopment happening in this area,” Hubbard said of the new I Love Sugar store. “We are seeing – finally – a turnaround in the economy.”
The building is at least the second older structure to be torn down this year in this section of Ocean Boulevard. The Chesterfield Inn, oceanfront at Seventh Avenue North, which was on the National Register of Historic Places, was demolished in August to make way for a restaurant and mini-golf course. The new development is starting to take shape with plans to open in time for the summer tourist season next year.
On Monday morning, some Boulevard business owners and tourists watched heavy equipment dig into the old white, former boarding house building, most ready to see something new in its place.
“It’s well past its use,” Chris Walker, who owns several businesses near the old building, said as the equipment clawed its way through the structure, spewing glass and toppling cinder blocks.
Susan and John Reedy of Cincinnati checked out the action on an otherwise quiet, off-season Boulevard.
“It’s interesting,” she said, adding they planned to swing by later to see what’s left once the building is down. “It probably does have a lot of memories for people.”