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$70M development proposed along Catawba River in Rock Hill

The Ponderosa restaurant sits near Rock Hill’s Riverwalk development at the Catawba River. A developer has plans to create retail, residential and office space on both sides of U.S. 21.
The Ponderosa restaurant sits near Rock Hill’s Riverwalk development at the Catawba River. A developer has plans to create retail, residential and office space on both sides of U.S. 21.

Riverside on the Catawba River, a $70 million mixed-used development that could bring hundreds of residents and jobs to Rock Hill, is being considered by city planners.

The developer, Premiere Design Solutions, is asking the city to rezone the property to master plan commercial to allow the variety of uses. The property is in York County and the company plans to ask for it to be annexed into the city.

Two sites are proposed for development, a 5-acre site on the east side of Cherry Road, site of the former Ponderosa restaurant, and 25 acres on the west side of Cherry Road, bisected by Riverside Drive.

The plan calls for 150 condominiums, 150 apartments, a 130-room hotel, and 235,000 square feet of retail office space. Market conditions will likely result in apartments over a hotel or condos, said Luis J. Jurado, president of Premiere Design Solutions.

Projected rental rates would start at about $1,000 a month, Jurado said. One-, two-, and three-bedroom units are planned.

“The concept is a place where people can live, work and play,” said John Abernathy, Premiere Design Solutions’ civil engineer for the project.

Abernathy said the hotel could be built on the 5-acre site with some retail or restaurant space. Apartments could replace the hotel on this site, Jurado said. The apartments and more retail/office space would be built on the 25-acre site.

Two 75-unit, six-story apartment complexes would likely be the first phase of the project, he said. The apartment buildings would have retail on the first floor, Abernathy said.

Amenities would include use of the roof where there could be a pool, Jurado said.

The views from the roof and higher floor apartments “will be outstanding,” Jurado said. The lower floors will have an obstructed view of the Catawba River.

Construction could start this year, he said, with a completion date of 2019.

The plan calls for aligning Riverside Drive and Dunkins Ferry Road into one intersection with a traffic light as well as extending the Carolina Thread Trail about 1,500 feet west of Cherry Road.

According to a traffic study by Premiere Design Solutions, the worst-case traffic scenario is that the development would create 13,000 trips to per day. To deal with the increase traffic, Jurado said his firm is willing to make improvements to the U.S. 21 Bypass-Spratt Street intersection across the Catawba River, adding a dedicated right turn lane, as well as improving the Celriver Road-Cherry Road intersection.

Members of the city’s Planning Commission on Tuesday asked a few questions about traffic, views of the river and whether the developers are seeking LEED certification as a “green” or environmentally friendly building. The developers said they want to be sensitive to the site environment, but will not seek LEED certification because of the cost and time involved.

The Planning Commission deferred making a recommendation to the City Council until its April meeting. The delay will allow the developers more time work with city officials.

Don Worthington: 803-329-4066, @rhherald_donw

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