MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – The Superblock area in downtown Myrtle Beach won’t see any development quite yet.
City leaders have not selected an architect to build the new library and children’s museum. A total of eight different firms created a request for proposal, with half being from the area and the others hailing from Columbia, Charleston, Arizona and New York.
According to city officials, the project is on hold until the new council takes over in January. At that point, the Superblock staff committee will select the top three choices and ultimately make the decision on how the proposed project moves forward.
The project is expected to cost around $10 million to complete. The existing Chapin Memorial Library is more than 70 years old and has outlived its use. So, instead of spending more than $3 million to remodel it, the city merged the library and children’s museum into one project.
One local architecture firm, Mozingo Wallace Architects, LLC, is hoping to be involved with revitalizing the Superblock.
“It used to be a very vibrant, festive area, and it seems to have digressed in recent years,” senior partner Derrick Mozingo said. “There’s been attempts to revitalize the area with respect to redoing landscaping and storefronts, but nothing ever to this extent.”
Mozingo agrees with the city that the Superblock has been underperforming the past 30 years and he wants to see a new, positive synergy take over that area.
His firm’s plans show the children’s museum facing toward U.S. 17 Business for the commercial use.
“Say you’re riding by with your mom and dad in the car, and you’re a child and look over and see playful, iconic structures and say, ‘Mom, let’s go in there and check that out,’” Mozingo said. “Because of the millions of people who come here every year, it’s still a family beach and children come with those families.”
The other site development plans include an outdoor exhibit space, digital movie wall, playground space, and more parking or bus drop offs.
“It’s disappointing now to come into the city and see the blight area, and there’s so much opportunity there in the Superblock area and to carry into the Pavilion area to the oceanfront,” Mozingo said.
The city’s goal is for the children’s museum to become a tourist destination in the city. Mozingo believes Myrtle Beach leaders need to make the final decision as to whether or not the Superblock is the best location for it and the library.
“Could another mini Market Commons work at the Superblock? Certainly,” he said. “I would envision that (would) be more of a private investment than a pubic/private investment that the museum and children museum might be”
The direction of the Superblock project will be discussed once the new Myrtle Beach mayor and city council members take office.
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