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Myrtle Beach considering new Broadway Entertainment District

Renovations are happening at Celebrity Square in Broadway at the Beach where the area’s first Dave & Buster’s is set to open, a new OZ nightclub has already opened and an American Tap House is under construction. Hard Rock Cafe will be relocating from the pyramid to beside the fountain.
Renovations are happening at Celebrity Square in Broadway at the Beach where the area’s first Dave & Buster’s is set to open, a new OZ nightclub has already opened and an American Tap House is under construction. Hard Rock Cafe will be relocating from the pyramid to beside the fountain. jblackmon@thesunnews.com

A new look may be coming to more than 433 acres of Myrtle Beach, where city leaders are looking to carve out a new “Broadway Entertainment District” complete with it’s own unique branding, signage and front stoop appeal.

The city is considering a new overlay district, branded the Broadway Entertainment District, that will encompass Broadway at the Beach, several city venues and other entertainment hot spots under new signage regulations.

“There are really two large concepts here. One, is the establishment of this area as an entertainment district,” said Myrtle Beach City Manager John Pedersen, and the other is setting up a process for the city to establish overlay districts “for branding purposes.”

Pedersen said the overlay districts would allow the city to recognize common elements and common themes that could help promote, market and guide redevelopment of certain unique areas of the city.

The proposed entertainment district is set to include Broadway at the Beach, Pelican’s stadium, the Myrtle Beach Convention Center, the city’s sports center, a proposed amphitheater and performing arts center, Legends Theater, Broadway Grand Prix and the Hollywood Wax Museum.

“All of that would include the large entertainment venues that we would propose to be assembled as a district,” Pedersen said. “In that district there would be some changes to the signage ordinance which I recommend as appropriate to an entertainment district to that scale.”

A special signage regulation for the district, encompassing land along U.S. 17 Bypass to Oak Street and from 21st Avenue North to 29th Avenue North, would detail the types of signs that would be allowed. But every sign would not fall to approval of the city’s Community Appearance Board.

Myrtle Beach City Council approved first readings of the proposed signage regulations and the overlay district process last week. The signage measure will be passed to the city’s planning commission and CAB for input. The new signage regulations clear the way for signs with changeable electronic variable messaging systems for “qualifying main attractions” under certain conditions.

The conditions include required setbacks from roadways, maximum sizes and sign locations.

A $50 million investment is a heck of an investment for this city.

John Rhodes, mayor of Myrtle Beach, on the $50 million redevelopment of Broadway at the Beach

Iconic feature signs within a common area of Broadway at the Beach, the parking lot of Ticketreturn.com field, the area of a proposed performing arts center and the Myrtle Beach Sports Center would be allowed under the proposal.

The proposal envisions a common branding of the district, Pedersen told the council, and the city’s existing sign code could not accommodate the market demands or meet the requirements of new tenants coming to Broadway at the Beach.

A new entertainment area at Broadway will house the Grand Strand’s first Dave & Buster’s, a new American Tap House and an ever-evolving Oz nightclub, which opened a few weeks ago. Plans for the square’s makeover also include new homes for Broadway’s long-serving attractions Broadway Louie’s and Hard Rock Café Myrtle Beach.

Pedersen told the council last week that Broadway’s redevelopment is valued at $50 million.

“A $50 million investment is a heck of an investment for this city,” said Mayor John Rhodes, in support of the new branding campaign.

Signs of Broadway’s transformation have been obvious in recent months, with restaurants and entertainment venues either closing or moving.

Planet Hollywood, MagiQuest, Carlos’ n Charlie’s restaurant, and Revolutions Nightclub have shut their doors. Broadway Louie’s moved to its new spot on the square at the former site of Country Roads and Rodeo, a few doors down from its prior location where Hard Rock will soon move.

The landmark planet where Planet Hollywood once operated fell out of orbit with the building’s demolition and new permits with the city revealed plans for a Carolina Ale House.

The Carolina Ale House plans to open in time for the fall football season. American Tap House plans to open near the end of May and Hard Rock Cafe looks to open its new location this summer.

Emily Weaver: 843-444-1722, @TSNEmily

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