New brewery in Myrtle Beach

Grand Strand Brewing Company opened in Nance Plaza on Tuesday. The building had originally been Edwards Five & Dime and later Beach Bingo. Photo by Janet Morgan/

Amy Barrett has been named the first president and CEO of the Myrtle Beach Downtown Business Alliance, a committee of city business leaders and public officials appointed by One Grand Strand to oversee downtown redevelopment efforts.

Barrett “will be responsible for growing the placemaking organization and advancing the MBDA’s mission to revitalize downtown Myrtle Beach,” according to a press release Friday.

She will begin Nov. 8.

“We are thrilled to introduce Amy to our community and look forward to growing the MBDA under her leadership,” Board Chair Dr. David DeCenzo said in the press release. “Amy possesses the qualifications, energy and expertise to grow the MBDA into the organization we need to create a lasting impact on our area.”

Barrett, who holds degrees urban studies and political science from Furman University and a master’s degree in urban and environmental planning from the University of Virginia, has a long history with municipal policy.

She previously headed the South Carolina District Council for the Urban Land Institute, a global nonprofit that studies urban development patterns and land use trends. According to its website, ULI focuses on smart growth, sustainability and workforce housing, among other topics.

“I have been following growth and development trends on the Grand Strand for a while now—specifically the city of Myrtle Beach’s efforts to revitalize downtown and the work of One Grand Strand,” Barrett said in the press release. “I am excited and grateful for this opportunity to join an amazing team of civic leaders, city staff and strong community organizations as we partner with small business owners, community members and other leaders to lead downtown Myrtle Beach into a bright future!”

The search committee was headed by “DeCenzo and included Executive Committee Members Mary Jo Rogers and Terrance Harriot, as well as One Grand Strand Members Clay Brittain III and Michael Clayton,” the release states.

The search committee contracted the Pennsylvania-based HRS Executive Search Consultants for the four-month national recruitment process.

One Grand Strand, which oversees MBDA, is a business consortium that has been courting investors for the city’s downtown redevelopment efforts.

MBDA’s board includes city officials Mayor Brenda Bethune, City Manager Fox Simons and City Council Member Michael Chestnut; non-profit representatives such as Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Karen Riordan, Habitat for Humanity Neighborhood Revitalization Director Meagan Michal and Chapin Foundation Executive Director Tory Mackey; and private sector and community leaders such as Gay Dolphin Manager Michelle Plyler, Horry-Georgetown Technical College President Murph Fore and Wither’s Swash Community Leader Bill Jones.

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