Residents hope Bleachery redevelopment spurs business growth

Residents hope Bleachery redevelopment spurs business growth

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by TONY BURBECK / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @TonyWCNC

WCNC.com

Posted on November 26, 2012 at 6:41 PM

Updated Saturday, Oct 26 at 10:10 AM

ROCK HILL, S.C. -- The Old Bleachery in Rock Hill is ready for redevelopment, and is expected to play a key role in the city's attempt to create jobs in the downtown area, officials said Monday.

"We're ready to go vertical at the Bleachery site right now," said Andrew Shene, president of the Rock Hill Economic Development Corporation.

Requests for qualifications and interest will be distributed to developers in early 2013, Shene said.  It's part of a plan by the city and business community to develop a "Knowledge Park" of new business and new jobs in a square mile area of downtown, which extends to the Bleachery and Winthrop University.

Potential options include selling one of the remaining buildings on the Bleachery site.  The city bought the land a few years ago for $900,000 and paid $5 million to demolish parts of it after two separate cases of arson caused damage.

"We have a 350,000 square foot building right now that's ready for a business to come into, and that's the number one thing we hear from businesses that want to expand and relocate to this area is they don't have a year to wait," Shene said.

Neighbors have heard talk redeveloping the old mill before.

"They should just get rid of it," said Derek Buchanan, who lives behind it. 

He says ponds of water on plant property make life miserable during the summer.

"It's a mosquito haven."

Buchanan says anything built there in the future is better than what is there now - and would improve his neighborhood and create jobs.

"We would benefit from it," he said.

Officials say previous talk of redevelopment at the old mill fell through in part because the previous developer died, plus it just takes time to get the area ready.

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