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'A lot of potential' | Discussions on redevelopment plans for failed Panthers facility underway

The Rock Hill Mayor says there are no exact plans yet, but they plan to bring in something that will create a lot of high-paying jobs.

ROCK HILL, S.C. — The future of the Rock Hill land where the failed Carolina Panthers practice facility sits is back in the conversation. On Tuesday, the Rock Hill planning commission met to make fairly procedural recommendations on annexing and rezoning parts of it.

By all accounts, it had great potential for the city of Rock Hill. But the shell of the failed Panthers site is on its way down to make room for future development.

“It’s definitely disappointing especially as a small business owner here in town,” Haven Miller said.

A dumpster was driving through what was the construction site to pick up the pieces.

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“They ought to do something with it,” David Benson said. "It’s just a waste."

Despite the disappointment, many still believe in its potential.

“There’s a lot of potential," Mayor John Gettys said. "It’s got to be on the very short list of great sights in this southeastern region."

The city now owns the land and has it up for sale.

The planning commission presented recommendations to annex two parcels of the land that are part of the project and owned by the city but technically just outside of city limits. 

They also recommended rezoning those parcels to a community commercial designation, the same as the rest of the land. That would later allow for a variety of commercial businesses that provide day-to-day shopping and services.

“I definitely think restaurants and retail,” Miller said. “Things that help people move closer towards downtown. There have been so many things that have been done to develop this area, really poured a lot of time and attention here. So I think anything that could really appeal to the masses would be great.”

“Make it like a shopping hub, put a couple of bars in there, put a couple of fun places because we need some more stuff on that side of town,” Zach Helms said.

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“One of the main benefits of it is it's right next to the interstate so I think it’s just easy access to anyone,” Walter Vieira said.

Mayor Gettys said time will tell exactly what takes over the land, but when it’s redeveloped, it will not include a lot of housing, warehouses or distribution.

“That’s the beauty, we wait on the private development community to come and decide what makes the most sense with them and weigh that with the public benefit and seeing what does create jobs and what use can be there, so we’ll sort of see," Gettys said. "It’s a little early in the process to know with any certainty."

He said they will prioritize what can bring a lot of high-paying jobs and benefit the people of Rock Hill.

The entire chunk of land is about 240 acres, Gettys said they are not opposed to selling it to multiple developers.

The city council will have to vote on annexing the two parcels of land and the rezoning recommendation, Gettys said that will likely happen easily without much discussion.

Contact Chloe Leshner at cleshner@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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