The mystery hotel still doesn't have a name, and it remains more than two years away from completion. But the yet-to-be-named 23-story oceanfront resort complex, developed by the Virginia-based Buchanan Motels, is already having an impact in the Myrtle Beach downtown district that extends beyond its property borders.
So far known only as the "18th Avenue North hotel project" for its location at the corner of Ocean Boulevard, the proposed project was given final approval by the City of Myrtle Beach in February, after months of debate over some of the luxury resort's many features.
Construction is nearly ready to begin on the site of the old Palmetto Shores Oceanfront Resort Hotel, which has been completely razed, along with the adjacent property on both sides of Ocean Boulevard.
An artist's rendering of the forthcoming Myrtle Beach resort, hold the crosswalk — Photo courtesy of Buchanan Motels LLC
The development's most prominent point of contention was a proposed overhead crosswalk that would allow guests to access the hotel directly from the parking garage and the on-site, 15,000-square-foot waterpark without crossing Ocean Boulevard at street level.
Developers argued that the crosswalk would help alleviate traffic issues and serve as a safety feature for its guests, but the Myrtle Beach City Council disagreed and rejected the plan, citing a concern that granting the request would open the door to more hotels and resorts requesting permission to build similar structures.
There's currently only one overhead crosswalk in Myrtle Beach, located at the Landmark Resort on 17th Avenue South, which was built in 1998. City planners have opposed the addition of others that do not allow for public use.
However, the developer and city did come to agreement on a couple of key issues that prevented the crosswalk from becoming a deal-breaker. Foremost is the city's arrangement to expand the 1.2-mile Myrtle Beach Boardwalk to adjoin the new resort's property, which the city will build at the developer's expense.
The Boardwalk currently runs from Second Avenue South to 15th Avenue North, ending about three blocks south of the development.
The city will oversee the construction to ensure consistency with the existing wooden walkway that runs parallel to the beach and leads to many of the downtown area's top attractions. Guests at the new resort will be able to walk directly from the premises to the Boardwalk to as far south as the Second Avenue Pier.
The city also agreed to add three small parks and green spaces within the adjoining beach accesses and to landscape and maintain the areas to provide a scenic stretch to the Boardwalk. No timetable has been set for the start of construction or a grand opening, but developers estimate a two-year building period.