Comporium plans to spend about $50 million to completely rebuild a block of downtown Rock Hill on the north side of Fountain Park.
Company officials announced the next phase of the Fountain Park district Thursday, speaking from the vacant fourth floor of the Fountain Park Place office building at the intersection of East Main Street and Elizabeth Lane.
Once a significant portion of the fourth floor is leased, Comporium will move across Elizabeth Lane to construct a hotel and conference center, along with plans for retail, restaurant and residential spaces.
Marriott has made a commitment to run the planned 84-room hotel, officials said.
To make space for the new development, the former TD bank building, the Arts Council of York County’s Community Performance Center and a one-story building along Main Street will be demolished, as will the CN2 studios.
Thursday’s announcement was warmly greeted by business and elected leaders, who hailed it as the next step forward in the city’s vision to redevelop downtown, including Knowledge Park.
The success of Fountain Park prompted Comporium to move forward, said Matt Dosch, the company’s executive vice president for customer operations and external affairs.
“We’ve seen the success of Foodtruck Fridays, yoga classes on Saturday and even wedding proposals at Fountain Park. That made us look at the whole neighborhood and reflect on the value of the park,” Dosch said. “We had to keep the momentum going.”
Keeping the momentum going meant tweaking Comporium’s “Downtown East” plan that was announced in 2010.
Downtown East was a partnership between Comporium and the city to transform the downtown area bounded by Elizabeth Lane, Saluda Street, Main Street and Black Street. The previous plan called for Fountain Park, a downtown hotel, performing arts center and office, residential, retail and restaurant spaces.
The $9 million Fountain Park Place office building was the first phase of “Downtown East.” The first tenants moved into Fountain Park Place in October 2014. The law firm Morton and Gettys leases the third floor, TD Bank has a portion of the first floor and Regus ready-to-go office space fills the second floor.
The planned hotel will be unlike any current Rock Hill hotel, promised state Rep. Ralph Norman, a Fountain Park district developer. The hotel’s architecture will take its clues from the Fountain Park Place building, Norman said.
The hotel will have a “boutique” feel, he said. As planned, there will be a rooftop garden with a bar and pool. The hope is to have a first-floor “name” restaurant. Adjacent to the hotel will be 5,500 square feet of conference/ballroom space. Anchoring the development at the Law Place intersection with Main Street will be a building that will have retail and restaurant space on the first floor, and offices on the upper floors and a penthouse residential space.
“The timing is right,” Norman said. “This will be a product second to none, and Rock Hill is on the radar screen now.”
Comporium’s future plans for the Fountain Park district include a 500-seat performing arts center on East Black Street and 100,000 square feet of retail, restaurant, office and possibly residential space on Elizabeth Lane, across from Fountain Park. As planned there would also be a parking garage.
Comporium, the Arts Council of York County, Winthrop University and other interested stakeholders have been studying the feasibility of a downtown performing arts center for several years. Dosch said it was too early to estimate a cost or timeline for the performing arts center, but there clearly is a need. With the Arts Council losing its performance center it will spend the 2016 season “on the road,” performing at various city venues.
The current Comporium operations center would be demolished for the Elizabeth Lane project. Comporium would likely lease space in the new multi-story building on the site.