Rock Hill City Council will likely begin rezoning the former Bleachery textile plant Monday – the next step in redeveloping the site into a high-tech, multi-use business park with offices, retail and residential units.
Sora-Phelps, master developer for the project, requested 26 acres between Winthrop University and downtown be rezoned Master Plan-Commercial. The zoning would give the planners some flexibility in redeveloping the site to meet market conditions.
The city’s planning commissioner could modify changes to land use, development and design standards and the height of buildings that could be six stories tall. City Council approval would be needed for any additional changes.
Two council readings are required to rezone the property, formerly the Rock Hill Printing & Finishing Co.
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The master plan calls for 1.6 million square feet of retail, restaurant, office, residential and parking. Sora-Phelps estimates redevelopment would create 1,200 jobs. Sora-Phelps and others are expected to invest nearly $200 million in the project that is slated to start this year and take up to seven years to complete.
Included in the plan are:
▪ About 118,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space spread out over nine buildings.
▪ About 270,000 square feet of offices, most of it at the existing Lowenstein building, which has 228,000 square feet.
▪ A 60-room, three-story hotel
▪ Two student housing buildings with a total of 434 beds
▪ Three apartment or condominium buildings with 226 units.
▪ About 30 percent of site will be open space, with 1.7 acres privately owned and 5.4 acres publicly owned. About 7 acres will be “hardscape” – streets, sidewalks and plazas
▪ Four parking garages with 1,687 spaces. At least one the garages would have first-floor retail space. The basement of the Lowenstein building would be used for parking.
▪ Converting the existing power plant building into a restaurant and outdoor space for music and food festivals.
▪ Converting the existing water treatment plant into an art gallery and museum and demolishing the basin at the water treatment plant, filling it in and making it open space.
Construction would be done in seven phases. The development schedule can change based on economic conditions or market demand.
▪ Phase One, 2016: Lowenstein building for offices and possibly a restaurant, 194-bed student housing unit.
▪ Phase Two, 2017: 240-bed student housing with retail on first floor, parking garage, active adult community with 93 units and first floor retail
▪ Phase Three, 2018: Surface parking, retail-restaurant space.
▪ Phase Four: 2019: 84-unit apartments, 340-space parking garage, surface parking
▪ Phase Five, 2020: Apartments
▪ Phase Six, 2021: Offices, 60-unit, three-story hotel
▪ Phase Seven 2022: Museums, surface parking
Redevelopment of the site is part of the city’s Knowledge Park strategy to bring high-tech, well-paying jobs to Rock Hill.
The Bleachery site has sat unused since 1998 when plant operations ended. A July 2014 fire destroyed many of the plant’s buildings.
The five-story Lowenstein building is one of the last remaining structures from the textile plant, which began operations in 1929. At the height of its operations, the Bleachery had 30 buildings with 2.5 million square feet under roof and employed one of every four or five workers in Rock Hill. The plant bleached, dyed, printed and finished cloth.
Sora-Phelps was selected by the city to be the master developer in the fall of 2013. Sora-Phelps is a partnership between Sora Development of Towson, Md., and Phelps Development of Greeley, Colo.
Sora specializes in mixed-use projects involving universities and their communities. Phelps is part of Hensel Phelps, one of the nation’s largest general contractors.
Want to go?
The Rock Hill City Council meets 6 p.m. Monday at City Hall, 155 Johnston St.