|By Dawn Bryant, The Sun News (Myrtle
Beach, S.C.)McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
March 07, 2013--Myrtle Beach is getting its first new hotel since construction abruptly stopped amid the Great Recession.
A 14-story Homewood Suites Oceanfront Resort & Conference Center is in the works for the vacant oceanfront spot at 1805 S. Ocean Blvd. on the former site of the Robbie Shyan Motel. The $25 million Homewood hotel aims to open in June 2014.
It will be the first new hotel in the city since 2009, when the south tower of the Hampton Inn & Suites opened next door to where the Homewood will be built. Demand for rooms, combined with low interest rates, makes this the right time to build, said Buddy Lindsay, president of Sonship Hospitality, which is developing the Homewood and developed the Hampton Inn next door.
"So it works," he said. "Of course there is risk. But I know there is demand to fill it. It's why we are doing it.
"We turned away 28,000 people last year who wanted to stay at the Hampton Inn," he said, adding that the property had to turn away a similar number in 2011.
The beach hasn't seen any new hotels for four years as the market tried to correct from the overbuilding of lodging units during the height of the real estate market. Lindsay said the extra tourism promotion through the city's 1 cent sales tax has increased demand.
Though there have been positive signs with the pickup of building in the real estate market, don't expect a flurry of oceanfront building to return, city spokesman Mark Kruea said, recalling the pre-recession days when construction cranes crowded Myrtle Beach's oceanfront skyline.
"It's still too early to be thinking about a long line of sky cranes but it's a promising sign," Kruea said. "The tourism sector has recovered much more quickly than the rest of the economy. We are starting to see some positive signs in other segments of the economy."
The Homewood, which will share pools and other amenities with the Hampton Inn, will have 100 suites, a mix of two-bedroom, one-bedroom and studios, all with kitchens and private balconies. Homewood also will have a 300-seat conference center, three pools, a firepit, fitness center, a pilates-aerobics room for women only and a bistro serving sandwiches and snacks. This will be the only Homewood of the 399 in the chain that is on the oceanfront, Lindsay said.
Myrtle Beach's Community Appearance Board got a glimpse of the project Thursday, with a final vote expected during its next meeting. Construction aims to start in April.
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