RHEDC sells 2 buildings in downtown Rock Hill

The Rock Hill Economic Development Corp. announced Tuesday building and property sales that will net the corporation more than $3 million.

“This is an overnight success that has been 10 years in the making” said Stephen Turner, the city’s director of economic development.

The deals involved the sale of two downtown buildings and the sale and development of properties in the Waterford Business Park.

The Bass and McFadden buildings on East Main Street in downtown were sold for $765,000 to Chad Echols, an attorney and son of Mayor Doug Echols, and David Williams, chief executive officer of Williams and Fudge, a collection agency.

The downtown buildings have first-floor retail space and second-floor apartments.

Betsy Rock, owner of Overhead Station and Thi Le, owner of Thi’s Place on Main, occupy the retail spaces. Five of six apartments are rented, Turner said.

RHEDC was considering turning the property into condominiums, but wanted to see if there was any interest in purchasing the buildings outright.

Williams said he and Echols intend to “leave things as it is for now.” The two decided to purchase the buildings “because we are committed to the long-term success of Rock Hill.

“It’s a chance to be involved in downtown,” Echols said. “We didn’t want to let it pass by.”

The two have had a business relationship for several years. Echols has served as an attorney for Williams and Fudge.

RHEDC has owned the downtown buildings for years, initially purchasing them to prevent them from being demolished. In recent years RHEDC has moved away from owning property, using sale proceeds for economic development projects.

In the Waterford Business Park, RHEDC has a $225,000 purchase agreement to buy 7.7 acres off Waterford Glen Way by Southern Charm Events. The buyer intends to build an entertainment venue that can be rented for weddings and other events.

The business park property is zoned for industrial uses and the proposed use would require approval from the Zoning Board of Appeals.

The sale of a $2.6 million “spec” building in the Waterford Business Park at the corner of Dave Lyle Boulevard and Waterford Park Drive is moving forward. Beacon Properties has made a $2,146,000 offer on the building. Beacon Properties would outfit the interior of the spec building for a yet-to-be-named tenant, Turner said.

Once that sale is finalized, RHEDC plans to develop a second, adjacent spec building. The RHEDC has selected J.M. Cope Construction to build the 40,000square-foot second spec building.

RHEDC decided not to competitively bid the second building because it had anticipated the need for a second spec building, and Cope has been involved with those plans from the start. When J.M. Cope graded the site it prepared it for two spec buildings.

RHEDC officials say they already have a prospect interested in the yet-to-be-built second spec building.

RHEDC also has asked Santee Cooper to extend the financing it provided for the first building to include a second spec building. The orginal $1.8 million loan from Santee Cooper’s economic development fund was for 10 years and is interest-free for three years.

The remaining funds for the first spec building were $145,750 from the city for water and sewer, $195,459 from RHEDC, $195,459 from the city’s and RHEDC’s economic development fund and $332,473 from the county for road improvements.

Don Worthington •  803-329-4066