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The Pavilion's fate to be decided

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Myrtle Beach's Downtown Redevelopment Corp. and Pavilion owner Burroughs & Chapin Co. Inc. moved a step closer to deciding the fate of the 56-year-old Pavilion landmark Wednesday when both backed California-based Webster Realty Investors as the park project's master developer.

A roller coaster would weave around hotel towers, an amphitheater, shops and restaurants on the site of The Myrtle Beach Pavilion Amusement Park if a developer's vision unveiled Wednesday becomes reality.

B&C officials stopped short of saying they will move the amusement park - a controversial step that has split elected leaders, residents and tourists. But they did say they are anxious to work with Webster leaders, the city and others to hone the idea.

Webster's $200 million vision for the Pavilion site includes the two hotel or time-shared towers, an amphitheater that could seat between 500 and 1,000 people, 210 residential units, six restaurants, shops, landscaped walkways and a roller coaster aimed at keeping some of the Pavilion's history. The original Pavilion building along the oceanfront could stay or go.

A bridge would take pedestrians over Ocean Boulevard.

Other ideas include a Bellagio-inspired interactive water exhibit, a NASCAR-themed roller coaster, a 3,000-seat performance theater, a Hollywood special-effects theater and a studio cinema for live broadcasts.

City leaders want to generate more year-round traffic along the beachfront by replacing the seasonal amusement park with development that would lure tourists and locals to the city's core even in the winter.

Between 2,000 and 3,000 people could mingle at any given time in the redeveloped site, Landreth said. About a million people visit the Pavilion during the four to five months it's open.

The redevelopment would happen in phases so downtown isn't left with a hole for the 18 months it would take to transform the site. No timetable has been set, though the change would start on the oceanfront block.

The city has been looking at downtown redevelopment plans for a decade, including a failed proposal to build amusement rides on a pier. A consultant has suggested the Pavilion move.

"Most people involved know it's just a plan, and it can change," said Allen Deaton, a downtown property owner involved with early redevelopment ideas. "That's why people don't get so excited. I think it is a good concept. It's got the right components."

I edited and summarized from this article in The Sun News:


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My opinion is that it is a good idea to redevelop the site. I know it has alot of history, but it would be more practicle to be able to use the land year round. And, by incorporating some rollercoasters and other attractions into the site, it would still retain some of its history. There are times when change is good.

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