Hollywood Wax Museum plans summer 2014 debut in Myrtle Beach

You won’t see the likeness of a massive King Kong emerging from the building just yet, but work on the Hollywood Wax Museum in Myrtle Beach is set to start in the next few weeks.

The attraction, at 21st Avenue North and U.S. 17 Bypass, aims to open by summer.

Crews, who will start interior demolition in the next few weeks, will transform the roughly 26,000-square-foot former NASCAR Cafe building into a two-story wax museum plus two, yet-to-be-named smaller attractions that will round out the planned entertainment center.

Visitors will be able to pose with wax figures of celebrities, though no word yet on the stars who will be part of the Myrtle Beach wax lineup.

Hollywood Wax Museum debuted on Hollywood Boulevard in February 1965 with life-size wax figures of celebrities and has been owned by the same family since then. The Myrtle Beach museum would be the fourth in the United States; the other two are in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., and Branson, Mo.

“We are pleased to work in partnership with Burroughs & Chapin on bringing the world-famous Hollywood Wax Museum to Myrtle Beach,” said Tej Sundher, whose grandfather founded the original Hollywood Wax Museum. “We know this beautiful city is a great match for our project and look forward to becoming part of the community.”

The attraction -- which initially wanted to feature a Mount Rushmore on one side and the well-known Hollywood sign on other side of the building’s outside, as well as shooting stars around its sign -- had to tone down the dramatic exterior presence to get the blessing of the city’s Community Appearance Board, which must OK the signs, landscaping and building exteriors of new development.

The current, stripped-down design features a large King Kong scaling a “skyscraper” not to exceed 80 feet high; the other elements were removed.

“The Hollywood Wax Museum is a fantastic addition to Myrtle Beach and Broadway at the Beach,” said Patrick Walsh, senior vice president of asset management with Burroughs & Chapin Co. Inc., which owns the spot where Hollywood Wax Museum will operate and Broadway at the Beach, the bulk of which sits across U.S. 17 Bypass from the planned museum. “Since this will be the only Hollywood Wax Museum in the Carolinas, we are confident that our visitors will be thrilled with the celebrity figures and interactive nature of the museum.”

The attraction brings life to a high-profile building that has sat empty for more than five years, though renovations started a few years ago on a Pat Boone theater that never materialized.

Ticket prices for the Hollywood Wax Museum haven’t yet been set, but spokeswoman Aileen Stein said residents of Horry and Georgetown counties, as well as Brunswick County, N.C., will get 50 percent off admission.

A job listing will be posted in the next week or so for the attraction’s general manager, Stein said. Hiring for the rest of the staff -- Stein said a number hadn’t yet been determined -- will begin April 1.