NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WPDE) — If you take a drive down Ocean Drive in North Myrtle Beach, you will see the makings of a new shopping plaza just past Barefoot Church and Kroger. The plaza is called the "Shops and Main." The developer of the project hopes the plaza will become a new attraction to Main Street for many years to come.
“For us, this is sort of a legacy project for our family," said Brad Alexander. "We plan to live here for the rest of our lives and we want to be able to drive down Main Street and see what we were able to add.”
Alexander is the president of both Shops on Main, LLC, as well as the project contractor Majestic Vision Properties. He said the idea for the plaza began last Spring. North Myrtle Beach approved of the project last Fall according to Alexander and since then he says it has been full steam ahead.
"I just thought it would really be an opportunity to improve the visual aspect of Main Street," said Alexander.
Right now, Main Street is in the middle of what most locals see as the offseason for the North Strand. Alexander said his project will take up the roughly six-acre lot housing seven buildings and several storefronts or eateries. While it seems mostly quiet along Ocean Drive compared to the summer season, Alexander said he has a lot of interest from businesses all over the Grand Strand to move in.
“Dirty Don’s Seafood and Oyster Bar is taking one building. We have a couple of boutiques," said Alexander. "A nail salon, Lovely Lead Naturals, a CBD store, and we are currently negotiating with around half a dozen or actually more like a dozen tenants right now."
The plaza will not only be storefronts, Alexander says his project is adding upwards to 200 new parking spaces to Main Street, North Myrtle Beach. The addition is being welcomed by businesses ABC 15 spoke to like International Cafe and Georgio's Pizza.
"It's going to bring more people to this general area," said Jeff Pierce at International Cafe.
For Pierce, he sees the benefit that parking options can bring to visitors during some of Ocean Drive's big events like St. Patrick's Day or the Irish Italian Festival.
“I think people are going to go the extra few steps just to see what’s down this way," Pierce said. "So I think it’s going to help out all of the businesses along Main Street.”
Alexander plans to have the plaza operating around late Spring. He says the project did not come without some push back from neighbors across the pond on 1st Avenue South. He said while he was working with the city, he also met with neighbors. Alexander says he worked with them to agree on a reinforced bulkhead on his property's portion of the pond as well as a new stormwater drainage outlet.
“We worked very hard to make this be a plus for everybody in the community.”
The city is also getting its benefits out for the project as well according to Alexander. Before the storefronts open up, his team has to move the sidewalk back a few feet expanding Main Street to add parallel parking and a new sidewalk along the storefronts; this mirrors what Ocean Drive's streetscape looks like around the curve closer to the beach.