Myrtle Beach Speedway’s owner plans to close the track in September, but what the property will ultimately become could be decided this summer.
This week, the landowner submitted a rezoning request to Horry County Government that, if approved, would clear the way for the nearly 46-acre site to be redeveloped. The property sits near the intersection of U.S. 501 and S.C. 31 beside Tanger Outlets.
Speedway owner Bob Lutz said he couldn’t discuss many details of the proposal because of a confidentiality agreement with the developer who plans to purchase the property. But he stressed that the track would not be turned into a giant subdivision.
“It will be great for the community,” he said. “It’s not just a housing complex. … There’s a lot of different things in there, a lot of things that everyone will enjoy.”
The application submitted to the county states that the proposed uses for the property include a hotel, townhouses, medical offices, senior living space and warehouse storage. Retail or office space would also be on the site, according to the application.
David Schwerd, the county’s director of planning and zoning, said Monday that county staffers are reviewing the application and it’s scheduled to go before the planning commission in July. Once a project receives a recommendation from the planning commission, it then goes to Horry County Council for a decision on approval.
The property’s existing zoning is highway commercial, which allows more intense development but does not permit a mixture of residential and commercial projects, Schwerd said. If the land receives the requested rezoning, the property could hold a mixture of commercial and multi-family development (for example, townhouses).
Originally a dirt track, the Myrtle Beach Speedway dates back to 1958. Lutz was part of a group called Shark Investments, LLC that purchased the property in 2012 for $2.5 million, according to county records.
The track’s history includes serving as a training ground for some of the sport’s biggest stars, including three generations of Earnhardts and four generations of Pettys.
Speedway officials have had to change their racing schedule because of COVID-19. They plan to resume racing on May 23, and Lutz said there is ample room at the venue for social distancing.
“We’ve got a large facility,” he said. “We can accommodate 12,000 people. You know, a regular Saturday night race usually is between 200 and 400 people. There’s going to be plenty of room for everyone to spread out … and not have to worry.”
The Speedway is also planning for the MB Nationals Car and Truck Show June 12-14 and the track’s final monster truck event June 20-21.
“This monster truck show is going to be bigger and better than any monster truck show that’s ever been there,” Lutz said. “This is going to be a bigger, expanded course. It’s going to have a lot more jumps and it’s going to be exciting for people to see.”
Another popular Speedway event, the Horry County Fair, also had to be rescheduled because of the new coronavirus. Lutz said that event is tentatively scheduled for July 3-12, pending county approval.
“Going out that far is going to be good for everyone and really reduce the risk,” he said.
Horry County Councilman Johnny Vaught, whose district includes the Speedway, praised the track’s owners for being flexible with scheduling in their farewell season.
“He’s been totally cooperative,” he said of Lutz. “What we’ve done is worked out compromises and reschedulings. … We were able to have a meeting of the minds.”