Multiple business owners located in the Myrtle Beach Superblock voiced concerns claiming the city harasses Natalias Bar & Grill and other business owners in the Superblock area.
The Myrtle Beach Superblock is located one block from the ocean directly west of the former Myrtle Beach pavilion.
“I did not come here, to Myrtle Beach and have worked as a veteran and fought for this country for 20 years …. to see what this city is doing to me,” said Natalie Litsey, owner Natalias. “I have a legit business,” she added.
Just late last month, City Manager John Pedersen enforced what local business owner Sandy Trio called “marshal law” closing down an entire block of Myrtle Beach for late night parking and operations for 61 consecutive days. The city manager claimed he did so for safety reasons. City Councilman Mike Chestnut told Chloe Johson of the Myrtle Beach Sun News, “I don’t think anyone’s going to be able to survive 61 days.” Those statements confused and upset all business owners in that area.
Chloe Johnson of the Sun News has reported that Broadway at the Beach, a popular dining, shopping, entertainment and nightlife destination, has seen more assaults and robberies (than the Superblock) overall in 2016. A recent Sun News article states, according to police reports: Broadway at the Beach, which is less than two miles away from the superblock, is home to nine establishments that stay open until 2 a.m. or later at least one night a week, according to online listings. (The recent bar closing ordinance only affects the superblock, and Malibu’s Surf Bar and Oz [located at Broadway at the Beach] both stay open as late as 3 a.m.) A total of 20 reports of violent crime were found at the destination from the beginning of this year, including 18 assaults and robberies, two reports of forcible rape and no incidents involving guns. However, two guns were reported missing from Broadway at the Beach’s parking lot after a string of car break-ins in July. Carrying weapons are prohibited inside the development.
Based on those numbers, showing higher crime at Broadway at the Beach, Superblock business owners question the motives of City Council. Most every business owner told us they believed the city was trying to close down all businesses in that district, condemn the district and sell the land to outside investors. “If they are trying to sell this area, then I expect the city to be upfront and give us what our businesses are worth and let us move.” Ms. Litsey said. “Not let the city find ways around false accusations and [then] close us down.”
Both Natlias Bar & Grill and other Superblock business owners tell us that multiple Myrtle Beach police cars show up as early as 9 p.m. parking near their shops with lights flashing scaring off customers. Ms. Litsey states that packs of multiple police officers enter the small bar three times nightly asking customers what they are drinking. She says police officers scare off patrons and several go behind her bar. On November 28th, the city sent the business a letter stating she was not in code and her license could be revoked as she had no recording device on her property.
After an incident in the bar earlier in 2016, Myrtle Beach police actually took Ms. Litsey’s recording device. They informed her they could not let her see the incident nor could they give her back her own security recording equipment as it was part of an ongoing investigation. Ms. Litsey stated she was surprised the city confiscated her equipment. She feels the city should return her equipment.
Editor’s Note: Many (most of) the businesses owned in the Myrtle Beach Superblock are owned by minority (Black, Jewish, Greek, etc) business owners.