The Carolina Panthers now own their future headquarters site in Rock Hill

The Carolina Panthers now own their future headquarters site in Rock Hill
South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster delivers the Professional Sports Team Incentive Act of 2019 to Panthers owner David Tepper as Rock Hill hosts a pep rally Wednesday at Fountain Park to welcome the Carolina Panthers. (Source: Rock Hill Herald)

ROCK HILL, S.C. (John Marks/ Rock Hill Herald) - The Carolina Panthers continue toward their move for a practice facility in Rock Hill.

York County land records now show the NFL team finalized its deal with the Hutchison family to acquire more than 240 acres off I-77, between its Cherry Road and Dave Lyle Boulevard intersections. The team agreed to pay more than $16 million.

The deal wrapped up March 27. As of Thursday afternoon it still didn’t appear on multiple county land record sites, but did post April 1 with the county register of deeds. The same company representing the team in the purchase, GT Real Estate Holdings, also bought the Waterford Golf Club on March 13.

York County, Rock Hill and the Rock Hill School District have been part of negotiations on tax incentive and development agreements with the team. The plan is to annex the site — currently surrounded by but not included in Rock Hill — into the city. Team headquarters and practice facilities would be part of a larger development to bring entertainment, restaurants, hotels, residential and more.

In March, York County Council held a preliminary vote on a financial incentive agreement. That plan shows two phases at a combined $1 billion of promised investment by the team. The property would be assessed at the owner-occupied rate of 4%, rather than higher rates 6% commercial rate, for 40 years. The team would pay fees rather than taxes.

The city would put all money from fees the team would pay, per the agreement, to public infrastructure to support the development. The school district would do the same with 75% of its fee revenue, the county at 65%.

Once debt is paid decades from now, rebates would end and the tax entities would keep their revenue. COVID-19 and social distancing measures pushed back the final decision from York County on the deal, or Project Avalanche, to April 20.

Team leaders have spoken on plans for the Rock Hill development in numerous public settings in the past year. In October, team COO Mark Hart told economic development leaders at a retreat in Rock Hill to expect everything from players and coaches living near the site to an entertainment venue destination and more when the Panthers site opens in 2022.

“We wanted to make sure that it not only just serves our development but it serves the City of Rock Hill and York County,” he told that group, “and really connects all parts of the community to this great, transformational project,” he said.

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