A new brewery could be coming to the Superblock.
The city of Myrtle Beach on Tuesday passed first reading of an ordinance to sell a city-owned Superblock building – formerly Beach Bingo – to the Grand Strand Brewing Company, a new company founded by a group of South Carolinians with years of experience in the brewing industry.
The city is selling the two-story building for $453,000, the same price for which the Downtown Redevelopment Corporation initially bought the building and which the city in turn paid to the DRC for the property, according to city documents. The city plans demolish an adjacent city-owned building to allow a passageway for cars to park in the back. The brewers plan to lease the second story of the building to the Maker Exchange, a space for arts and community events.
However, Grand Strand Brewing Company will defer full payment for a year to take advantage of several tax credits and will pay the amount plus interest by the end of the 365 days, for a total price of around $475,000, DRC Executive Director Lauren Clever confirmed Tuesday.
“They want to be able to use the historic tax credits, both the state and federal, and they want to be able to use the abandoned building credit,” said Clever, who will eventually become a city employee when the DRC closes.
“It’s not a ‘day one, here’s your whatever,’” Clever added. “They have to go through the process and make sure what they’ve done to the building actually qualifies for the historic renovation. So once that happens and they go through that process, then those tax credits are released. It’s a financial method or a model to use.”
Grand Strand Brewing Company plans to renovate the building into a brewery and install a commercial kitchen where chefs can prepare meals to complement the beer. The group hopes the new brewery is operational by 2020.
But there are a number of steps to go through before the project takes off.
Once the brewing company signs its contract with the city, they’ll put $3,000 down and began their 45-day due diligence period, during which time they can inspect the building’s structural integrity. Following the diligence period, the company has 30 days to close, at which point they’ll have to put down another $7,000. The rest of the money will be due a year later, although the brewers have the option to pay the full amount before the year is up.
The brewery and the Maker Exchange is the first big project in the city’s arts and innovation district, which encompasses a large part of downtown including the Superblock.
“The downtown revitalization is something that I ran on during my election,” Mayor Brenda Bethune said. “This project is exactly what fits in with the downtown master plan. It’s something we can offer our residents; the creation of our arts and innovation district, but it’s also something that’s good for our visitors as well. But the fact [is] that this will attract young people, and that’s what we’re trying to do, is to create a downtown that is vibrant for all ages but also to attract our young people back to that area to live, to work, to play and just to enjoy.”
Luke Jarrett and Todd Richardson with Charleston-based architect and design firm Synchronicity were at council representing the brewing company, and touted their past experience designing breweries, as well as their plans to preserve the brick structure that dates back to the 1940s.
“Grand Strand Brewing is really excited to come here,” said Richardson, a North Carolina native who recalled family childhood visits to Myrtle Beach. “The goal is to be open in the summer of 2020, and you’ve got folks who have been in the industry for many decades and are going to be relocating their families here and really putting an all-in bet on the brewery and on Myrtle Beach, and we think that’s something that should not be ignored.”
Jarrett, a Myrtle Beach native, said their task will be preserving the aesthetic of the building while preserving its structural integrity.
“What we’ve got here is an example of a classic Myrtle Beach building, it’s been around since the 40s,” Jarret said. “Two stories, brick construction, a really cool style. This building is on the national historic registry and as such, we will be tasked with rehabilitating the inside of the building while preserving and stabilizing the exterior. The building will not look different, it will look better.”
Grand Strand Brewing will lease the top floor to the Maker Exchange, founded by Kendall Seagroves, a graphic designer and Myrtle Beach native, and Lauren Reddei, an interior designer and Virginia native who moved to the area in 2013.
“I’m a graphic designer and I was exploring my options as far as careers go, and I’ve always had a real heart for Myrtle Beach,” Seagrove said. “The timing of everything when I came back and was starting to establish my career, I realized that the downtown redevelopment was a hot topic and it was starting conversation, and I wanted to be a part of that conversation.”
Reddei already had experience starting community organizations dating back to her time as a campus pastor at Coastal Carolina University, and segued that and other experience into the Maker Exchange.
“I just grew in love with this town and I just noticed there was so much potential for what could be in our city and I wanted to be a part of that narrative,” Riddei said. “And because I have done several community start-up initiatives, I wanted to develop a community of artisans and makers, like Kendall and I. Our values were the same so we decided to put our heads and our hearts together and do something magical.
“Our vision is to cultivate creative opportunity and community connection,” she added. “We want to create a space where folks can gather, connect and then flourish all under one historic roof.”
Bethune said she’s known Kendall her whole life and is excited to see younger people with a vested interest in the town.
“That’s a testimony to what council has done with the downtown plan,” Bethune said. “Also, it’s a testimony to the future of Myrtle Beach and where we’re headed. We believe we’re headed in the right direction, and this, I think, solidifies that for us.”