^^Lets give them some credit: their business plan of cheating investors and not having to pay any bills is pretty awesome. It's worked well for them twice already, so why not give it a 3rd try? Eventually they'll just keep going bankrupt and get every last creditor off their back.
^ About a month ago there were some, but I couldn't tell you where I saw them. Mostly vegitation over growth in some areas, it did however, look like they were doing the basics so as for it not to get too out of control.
An investment group has bought the property known as Waccamaw Pottery with plans to revive the former shopping hub by cleaning up the area and luring new stores, restaurants, entertainment venues and other tenants. The property off U.S. 501 at Fantasy Harbour, once slated for demolition before the recession to make way for new development, is getting new life under the new owners, 3W LLC, a firm registered in New Jersey that is made up of Chinese and American investors. The firm bought the 52.29 acres from General Electric Credit Equities for $7.5 million, closing the deal on Dec. 30, according to Horry County property records.
“We will gradually bring this thing back to life,” property manager Martin Durham said, sitting in an office in one of the mall buildings. “We are hoping to, over time, open everything back up.”
The change in ownership is the first step in reviving an area that has taken a few hits in recent years, businesses in the area said, with the twice-failed theme park still sitting idle and the lack of attention to keep up the Waccamaw Pottery property, which has spawned more weeds and broken windows than tenants in recent years. Crews already have pulled weeds and boarded up broken windows in the past few weeks, and area businesses have noticed – welcoming the change to a property they say looked abandoned and scary.
“Aesthetically, it is already looking better,” said Holley McMillen, sales manager at the Clarion Hotel and Conference Center across the street from Waccamaw Pottery, also once known as the Waccamaw Factory Shoppes. “It’s a relief. Any kind of good activity over there can only help this area. This area has really been hit hard lately.” The buyers found the property appealing because it is in a highly visible location off U.S. 501 – one of the main roads tourists take into Myrtle Beach – and the building is structurally sound, said Alain Wizman, director of commercial real estate for Keller Williams who represented 3W in the deal. Wizman had been working with the group for about a year, but said a trip to China in September with Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes impressed the buyers and helped seal the deal.
The buyers plan to spend about $1 million rehabbing the property, but the transition won’t happen overnight, Wizman said. Keller Williams also is handling leasing of the roughly 600,000-square-feet of space. “They felt this held a tremendous amount of potential,” Wizman said. “They feel it was a property that could be turned around into a premium product.”
The first new stores could be open by the summer, though it likely will take two years before the buildings known as mall 1 and mall 2 are reopen, Durham said, adding that at least half of the space needs to be filled before it’s viable to open that interior space. The goal is to fill the spaces along the exterior of the property first.
Officials aim to get a mix of tenants, including clothing stores, restaurants, nightclubs and venues with an international flavor, Wizman said. The shopping complex also will get a new name, one that will incorporate “Waccamaw” to capture the history of the area, he said. Details of the project, including the name and what the renovations will look like, are still being developed.
But the first step is cleaning up the property, which hasn’t been kept up in recent years. That includes landscaping to rid the place of overgrown weeds, fixing broken windows, pressure washing, painting and working on the roof, Durham said. On Thursday, landscaping crews were working in the parking areas. “This place has had no attention for four or five years,” Durham said. “It was just sort of idle. Everything was idle here.”
The property hasn’t been kept up since about 2008 when the previous owners – also investors in Hard Rock Park – abandoned plans to tear down the mall buildings to make way for a mixed-used development dubbed “Paradise City” and tied into the theme park next door. The theme park only lasted one summer as Hard Rock Park, and the investors abandoned their plans to redevelop the mall property once the park shut down in 2008. The mall was only renting month-to-month and needed some TLC. “I’m ecstatic,” said Jay Coley, a co-owner of Imaginations costumes and dancewear, one of three tenants at the shopping complex. “It’s exciting to know this won’t be desolate anymore. We won’t have to describe this as being an abandoned mall anymore.”
While the long-vacant Waccamaw Pottery mall has a new owner with plans for bringing the property back to life, questions remain about another big property in Fantasy Harbour, the former Freestyle Music Park. Now that the mall's new owner's group, 3W LLC, has taken over, retail stores, restaurants, and entertainment are in the works for the property, but things don't look nearly as rosy for the troubled theme park.
It's an exciting time for Imaginations Costume Shop. After being nearly the lone tenant at the former pottery mall for the past two years, Imaginations will soon get new neighbors. After being nearly the lone tenant at the former pottery mall for the past two years, Imaginations will soon get new neighbors. The store's owner doesn't know what to expect, but in the short time since the mall's new management took over, she's seen good things happen already. "So far they've been out here landscaping, killing weeds in the parking lot, they've boarded up some broken windows," said Imaginations owner Shanna Coley.
Across the street from the pottery mall, the manager of Staybridge Suites hotel expects maybe a whole new lease on life for the Fantasy Harbour area. "Looks like we're heading in that direction with the mall opening back up, especially with the new bridge that opened to the airport. We're on the map again," said Eric Reis. Reis said having a vacant mall property next door to the hotel hasn't been good for business. "But now that they're covering the windows up and cleaning the sidewalks off, even getting some repairs done, makes it great," he said.
It'll take a good facelift to bring the mall back to life, but the realtor who's marketing it said new tenants could start moving in almost immediately. "Because of our aggressive pricing structure and knowing that we're going to be making substantial changes, there's a lot of anticipated success here and we're going to be signing leases within the next few weeks," said Alain Wizman of Keller Williams Realty.
But clouds remain over Freestyle, the twice-bankrupt theme park just behind the former pottery shops. Wizman doesn't represent Freestyle, but he's aware of talks to find a new operator for it and he said one group is very actively negotiating. Still, he said it'll be almost impossible to open the park this year and maybe not even in 2013. "I don't think it's a reality for at least 18 to 24 months. I think that's the best possible scenario for us, if we can keep the park here at all," Wizman said.
Freestyle has been closed since the end of the 2009 season. Wizman said it will take months for any new operator to work out regulatory and safety issues.
The former Waccamaw Pottery mall once housed 125 outlet stores. It closed in 2004.
Change the scheme, Alter the mood! Electrify the boys and girls if you would be so kind!
Sounds like it has potential. Maybe not for the park, but if they can show businesses have potential there, maybe a new direction for the park can be considered later on down the line. If they clean it up, even though it's SBNO, it could help with the whole clean up the area to attract more tenants to the shops.
^This does sound like a step in the right direction if they can attract lots of business. I'm thinking it could be like another Broadway at the Beach, but on the south end of Myrtle Beach. If this new mall has the right amount of specialty shops, restaurants, and entertainment complexes, who knows if this could be the next step for reopening the old park?
I like to sound optimistic, but I got burnt before. Remember Ghost Town in the Sky? I was there when the park reopened in 2007, and they didn't have nothing. Oh, they had plenty of shows, but the main coaster was still being worked on and they had several rides that weren't running. I only got to ride two lousy rides!
Still I hope for the best.
"Are you done yet, because I . . .zzz . . .zzz . . ."
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