It was a $150 million dream that, if realized, would have brought back a symbol of mid-20th century consumerism to its peak.
But months after commercial real estate firm United Development Company unveiled plans for the Myrtle Beach Mall property in late 2019, the coronavirus pandemic hit – dooming the company before a single mound of dirt could be transformed.
Court records show the mall has been battling breaches of contract and foreclosure claims since 2021 for failing to repay insurance deductibles and a multi-million dollar loan.
He also racked up more than $257,000 in unpaid property taxes in Horry County, according to public records.
The financial struggles are a dramatic turnaround from just three years ago, when United Development launched a concept to bring in more restaurants, retail space and even a lighthouse and boardwalk.
“It will truly be the gateway to Myrtle Beach,” Mike Wooten of DDC Engineers told the Horry County Planning Commission in February 2019.
A little over a year later, the problems started.
It was the summer of 2020 and a named hurricane was rumbling along the Atlantic coast. To be on the safe side, the mall’s owning team asked insurance provider James P. Bennett and Co. for a one-year $92,663 deductible buyout added to its policy in July 2020.
The mall never paid, Bennett said in a July 2021 breach of contract lawsuit filed in Horry County Common Pleas Court.
“The defendants received a full copy of the policy they purchased, but neglected to pay what they owed, thereby unfairly retaining the advantage,” the lawsuit states. “The defendants negotiated in bad faith, as they had continued to pretend to attempt to fulfill the terms of the promise.”
In January, 15th Circuit Judge Benjamin H. Culbertson ordered the trio of mall landlord groups to pay the insurance provider $104,272 each.
And last month Westridge Lending Fund, which took over the mall’s mortgage, rentals, leases and other deals in 2018, launched foreclosure proceedings against MB Development Holdings for part of an unpaid loan. of $12.5 million.
Court records show the 523,000-square-foot Myrtle Beach mall, which sits off N. Kings Highway, owed $6.3 million of its loan as of March 8, when the lawsuit was filed.
Representatives for the mall did not respond to multiple phone messages left by The Sun News seeking comment. Originally built in 1986, the mall was purchased in 2014 by Peak Financial Partners and Misuma Holdings.