City, developer cuts ribbon on ‘blighted’ property set for new beginnings

The existing building will be demolished before a new development is constructed.
The City of Rock Hill will redevelop a shopping center to promote growth in the community.
Published: Jun. 9, 2022 at 7:09 PM EDT
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ROCK HILL, S.C. (WBTV) - Today was a big day for the city of Rock Hill.

New beginnings will soon come for a shopping center that has spent years dilapidated and deserted. 

The building is on the three points of Rock Hill—the intersection of Albright Road—Heckle Boulevard and Saluda Street. Now a developer plans to knock it down and build a development that intends to help the southside community.

The city of Rock Hill and developer held a ribbon cutting to not only acknowledge the massive project but also celebrate this being the first steps to much more development coming to the Southside.

This is a part of the city’s southside revitalization project known as the Clinton Connection Action Plan. The lot is supposed to be the anchor for what is to come. This building has looked rundown for almost 10 years now.

But for the last several years, project developer Vincent James worked on a plan for it.

Rock Hill City Council just last month to approve the development agreement with James and get this project off the ground. The renderings include four different buildings which are a grocery store, two restaurants and a career and education advancement center. All things the city of Rock Hill agreed was needed in this area.

“Any time you see private development happening in an area where you’ve only seen five or six things built in the last 30 years then you know today is really a linchpin showing what we can do in Rock Hill,” Mayor John Gettys said.

A grocery store trip is not something many think about as being a hassle. Unless you live in a food desert like Warren Moffatt.

“You gotta gas up the car and go across town and go through so many lights,” Moffatt said. “It’s kind of like a hazard.”

A group working with the city is set to change that. For years, this building sat vacant and dilapidated, but that ribbon cutting is the first sign on new life for it.

“I said if I can do this then the community can grow and flourish. Then this side of Rock Hill can grow and flourish really to the rest of Rock Hill,” Vincent James, the developer of the project, said.

His non-profit, Impact Change formerly known as COGUM Global, bought the property. He has been pushing for years to get this plan up and running with the help of the Rock Hill City Council.

The original plans were supposed to be affordable housing but after discussing with community member and the city, Gettys says the buildings there now will be more help to the community.

“I wanted to cry,” former Councilwoman Nikita Jackson said. “It’s just a feeling inside that you cannot put words to.”

Jackson was a major part of getting this project here in the first place. She lives in this community and even passes this building on her way home.

“Any time you have a building that’s blighted such as this it does bring the morale of the community down,” Jackson said. “And to know that we’re gonna bring new life being birthed right here on the southside you know everybody is overjoyed.”

That everybody includes the community members like Moffatt who are set to benefit.

“It’s amazing feeling knowing there’s a development that’s gonna help the southside,” Moffatt said.

The Aug. 4 demolition date is quickly approaching. The city says this will be a demo party where families and community members are encouraged to come out for food, music and maybe even some fireworks.

Related: Rock Hill newest development project set to demolish shopping center

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