May 20, 2022

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Panthers close agreement with the city of Rock Hill for new facility

Panthers close agreement with the city of Rock Hill for new facility

ROCK HILL, SC (WBTV) – The partnership between Rock Hill City and GT Real Estate, the agency behind the Carolina Panthers’ new headquarters and practice facility, has been dissolved, according to a GTRE spokesperson.

The announcement came on Tuesday, April 19, nearly two years since the issuance of the $800 million facility.

The full statement from GTRE is below:

“On February 26, 2021, the City of Rock Hill fell behind on its public infrastructure funding commitment. Despite our continued efforts throughout 2021, the City of Rock Hill failed to issue bonds or provide funding for the project’s public infrastructure.

On March 18, 2022, GTRE issued a default notice and the City did not address its shortening within the specified 30-day treatment period. It is unfortunate that some have recently decided to conduct a misleading and destructive PR campaign to cover up their failures.

We have sent notices to the city to formally terminate previous agreements. Accordingly, we are ready to sit down with the city and other interested parties to discuss the great challenges that lie ahead.”

The announcement came on Tuesday, April 19, nearly two years since the issuance of the $800 million facility.

Related: The Panthers Training Stadium was suspended a month ago, and there are still no signs that the project can resume

Panthers owner David Tepper announced on March 7 that he was stopping the project due to funding issues with Rock Hill. WBTV has learned that the city failed to issue its bonds, which were due at the end of February and the extended date from the original 2019 deal.

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A new fiscal agreement came on March 21 after York County Council passed a resolution introducing a new tax-exempt plan.

Rock Hill endorsed the plan with its own decision.

Related: Rock Hill, SC leaders accept county financial plan to keep Panthers facility on track

Business was also affected by the decision

The Panthers’ decision also affects business owners in the region. Forte Legato Coffee is located less than one mile from the construction site.

Owner Nick Benaluza says they opened the site in February 2020 with the new Panthers facility in mind.

“We were really hoping you’d know, between the players who were coming in to train or the people who were working in the facilities, whether it was marketing or you know, anybody who worked there, they’d be able to come in for a quick lunch or an early morning coffee.

Rock Hill endorsed the plan with its own decision.

Now, she’s back on the drawing board for this small business owner.

“As a small business owner, we have to focus on that. To me, it’s just like COVID. I’m going to do my job, finding new ways to get revenue streams. And then hopefully we’ll be able to meet the needs of the community and be able to open up and deliver things Different, but at the same time, this is frustrating,” Benaluza added.

Whether or not the Panthers call home to Rock Hill, he says they reside in the community.

“You know, we still have great coffee, and we show our farmers. We have great breakfast sandwiches. So for the community. We’re going to stay there,” he said.

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