RHEDC eyes public-private partnership for new business park, creating hundreds of jobs

The Rock Hill Economic Development Corp. is considering a public-private partnership to build a business park off East Springdale Road and U.S. 21, east of Interstate 77.

The park would represent an investment of $7.5 million and create almost 450 jobs, according to city officials.

RHEDC has been working for several years to develop the land south of the Ross Stores Distribution Center. The city’s inventory of manufacturing or distribution sites has become depleted, said Stephen Turner, the city economic developer.

RHEDC is considering partnership with Scannell Properties, an Indianapolis-based developer.

At RHEDC’s planning retreat in October, Scannell announced plans to develop 100 acres between Paddock Parkway and East Springdale Road. As many as five buildings – about 400,000 square feet of space – could be built for manufacturing or distribution operations and potential businesses could employ between 5,000 and 8,000 people at the site, Bill Linville of Scannell said at the time.

Since then, the city has approved Scannell’s plans for two buildings in a park to be called Legacy West. The remaining part of the project is on the east side of East Springdale Road.

As Scannell sought permission from city planners, it also was talking with RHEDC about a potential partnership, city officials said Tuesday. Scannell does not own the land on Springdale Road, Turner said. Scannell’s plans meet the city’s need for more building inventory as well as job creation. The city has access to financing options unavailable to Scannell.

A proposed partnership agreement calls for RHEDC to invest $1.3 million in the project as well as a $1.4 million grant from Santee Cooper. The utility offers both loans and grants for economic development projects in the state. RHEDC envisions applying for a grant which would require a 50 percent match.

Scannell’s proposed investment would be $2.3 million to purchase property and $2.2 million for construction costs.

RHEDC would retain a small portion of the property that it could develop with smaller “spec” buildings like it has constructed as other city business parks.

RHEDC authorized its finance committee and board members to negotiate an agreement with Scannell. That agreement would require another vote by RHEDC.

Don Worthington: 803-329-4066, @rhherald_donw