Leaders approve incentive deal to bring Carolina Panthers HQ, practice facility to Rock Hill

Updated: Apr. 20, 2020 at 11:39 PM EDT
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ROCK HILL, S.C. (WBTV) - In a virtual hearing, York County leaders approved the incentive deal centered around a new headquarters and practice facility for the Carolina Panthers in Rock Hill.

It is one of the most significant public hearings York County has held in years. A final procedural vote on the incentive deal, named “Project Avalanche” came Monday night. The motion passed 4-3.

Project Avalanche is an economic incentive deal related to the Carolina Panthers headquarters and practice site move from Charlotte to Rock Hill. The plan is to annex the site - currently surrounded by but not included in Rock Hill - into the city.

Full details about the incentive deal can be read on York County’s government website or the Rock Hill Herald.

According to the Rock Hill Herald, the incentive deal states the City of Rock Hill would forgo all its property tax revenue from the Panthers project for up to the next 30 years. The Rock Hill School District would do the same for 75 percent of its revenue, and the county 65 percent. Money would be used for $225 million of infrastructure for the project.

Those taxing bodies would then receive funding from project growth after the incentive expires. The proposed deal notes a team investment in two phases, each at $500 million. City economic leaders in recent months said the total, with hotels and restaurants and a other constructions, could value out at $2 billion.

The Panthers recently bought both a 240-acre main site for the development off I-77 and Waterford Golf Club. The main team site will be about 270 acres. Councilwoman Christi Cox posted council will consider an incentive plan that covers 1,150 acres.

In the public comment Monday night, at least four people talked about not knowing their parcel was on the list of additional property included in the project until a Facebook post from Councilwoman Cox. On April 14, Cox posted information on the project and the upcoming hearing.

CAROLINA PANTHERS, The Incentives, The Acreage, The Vote. This may be a surprise to you, but the final vote to approve...

Posted by Christi Porter Cox on Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Many people who called into the virtual hearing expressed concerns about the hearing being rushed, and many wanted the decision pushed back. Several residents in the hearing were concerned the coronavirus pandemic is disrupting what would have usually been a public hearing where people would attend in person. Concerns were raised that some people were being taken out of the meeting because they aren’t tech savvy or they don’t have internet.

Many people also felt like they weren’t informed enough before Monday night’s virtual hearing.

People who called into the hearing in favor of the deal spoke on support for the investment for the county, the outlook for significant growth and the upside for the future of the city.

More than 20 people called to argue against the project, while about three or four called in favor.

On April 24, Rock Hill City Council unanimously approved second reading and adoption of an ordinance authorizing execution of an interlocal agreement, welcoming the Panthers to Rock Hill.

Copyright 2020 WBTV. All rights reserved. The Rock Hill Herald contributed to this report.