Panthers training stadium put on hold a month ago, still no sign the project could restart
YORK COUNTY, SC (WBTV) – Construction of the state-of-the-art, $800 million Carolina Panthers headquarters and training facility in Rock Hill is still on hold as city leaders and County are trying to work out a new deal with the team.
It’s been two weeks since York County Council voted on a new funding plan in hopes of reviving the project.
During those two weeks, David Tepper and the Panthers remained silent. The silence of the Panthers is filled with statements from other people who are part of this agreement.
As time keeps ticking with no work being done on this massive project, people are using their words to try and urge the Panthers to get the ball rolling again.
Related: Rock Hill, SC executives agree to county financial plan to keep Panthers facilities on track
The war of words continues in Rock Hill as the Panthers draft remains on hiatus, but this time one side, the Panthers, is silent while the other sends statement after statement to the public.
The statements began with the York County government on April 1 saying “Along with the public, we await news from GT Real Estate and Mr. Tepper as to the future of construction there.”
The next day, Councilman Bump Roddey posted speculation on Facebook saying, “If Tepper says no thanks to the ‘Alternative Funding Option’, the Town of Rock Hill will see the biggest lawsuit in the town’s history. . Let’s hope that doesn’t happen. »
And now York County Senator Wes Climer is making his own statements.
“It’s hugely disappointing to work on a project for so long, and then just when we get to the finish line, the other side backs off,” Climer says.
Climer says Tepper’s behavior has implications across the board that he says reflect poorly on the NFL.
WBTV reported sources that representatives from Tepper Sports and Entertainment were in the room while representatives from Rock Hill and York County offered the new deal.
Climer confirms this and also tells us that the Tepper reps were offered several options and the duty-free option was the one they chose to bring back to Tepper.
“I have every reason to believe that this project will be completed. Local governments have done their part. The state has done its part. And I continue to believe that at some point reason will enter into this equation. David Tepper will be a man of his word and this project will be finished,” says Climer.
Governor Henry McMaster’s office returned to WBTV with a comment. A spokesperson said the state had done everything it could to move the project forward and it was now up to the Panthers and local authorities to find a solution.
A Panthers spokesperson told WBTV no comment.
It’s been a month of back and forth, and mostly a stalled project, so here’s what’s happened so far.
- On March 7, David Tepper announced that he would be shutting down the project due to Rock Hill funding issues.
- WBTV has learned that the City of Rock Hill failed to issue its bond due in late February, which was the extended date of the original agreement signed in 2019.
- A week later, the mayor and city manager of Rock Hill spoke freely about it at a city council meeting, saying they had done their “absolute and professional best”.
- Then WBTV learned from sources that some time between Tepper’s announcement and York County’s resolution, Tepper Sports and Entertainment, the City of Rock Hill and York County met to discuss a new plan. financial. This, again, was confirmed by Climer.
- The new announcement of the financial deal came on March 21 when York County Council narrowly passed a resolution to introduce a new tax exemption scheme for the project. A week later, Rock Hill unanimously supported this plan with its own resolution.
Climer says it took longer than necessary for a decision to be made.
“Now is the time for David Tepper to be a man of his word, to do the right thing, to see this project through,” Climer said.
In October 2020, the Carolina Panthers revealed renderings of their new headquarters and training facility in Rock Hill.
Related: Carolina Panthers reveal renderings of HQ and practice facilities in Rock Hill, SC
It was a joint revelation of the Panthers, York County and the City of Rock Hill. The mixed-use site was designed to accommodate Tepper Sports & Entertainment and become a destination for people from across the region.
When complete, the development will include restaurants, retail, a healthcare facility, apartments, hotels, trails and offices.
The facility will also include a 120,000 square foot indoor practice facility, a 113,000 square foot multipurpose sports and entertainment venue, and outdoor practice grounds. The indoor training ground features 80-foot-tall opening glass doors and can accommodate sporting events and games, concerts, and other corporate events.
Among the team’s amenities will be a 20,000 square foot weight room, a 6,000 square foot locker room and a 5,000 square foot hydrotherapy room to help with player rehabilitation and recovery. .
The main public areas of the development site are highlighted by “The Park”. It is the 5,000-seat multi-purpose outdoor stadium designed to host events such as high school football games, soccer games, concerts, etc.
“The Grove” is the site’s open space that features a series of reflecting pools, lighting and landscape.
“‘The Park’ itself, with its scalability between 5,000 and 20,000, I think is a great platform for festivals, concerts – all kinds of big-ticket events,” Hart said. . “We are working with the Rock Hill School District to make this available for high school sports, high school football, and all kinds of high school activities: proms, rallies, lectures, and educational programs.”
There will also be approximately 2.5 miles of public trails connecting to the Rock Hill multi-use trail system.
The project will include significant improvements to local infrastructure, including a new interchange off I-77. More than 13,000 feet of new public streets and 2,600 parking spaces are planned in addition to sidewalks and paths for cyclists, runners and walkers.
“Everything is designed to look great, feel great and spur great development opportunities for everyone who wants to come,” Hart said.
In April 2020, York County leaders approved the incentive deal centered on the Panthers’ new headquarters and training facility in Rock Hill.
It was one of York County’s most important public hearings in years when the final procedural vote on the incentive deal, dubbed “Project Avalanche,” took place.
Project Avalanche is an economic incentive agreement related to the relocation of the Carolina Panthers’ headquarters and training site from Charlotte to Rock Hill. The plan is to annex the site – currently surrounded but not included in Rock Hill – to the city.
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