Creating, marketing and selling speculative buildings will continue to be a high priority of Rock Hill’s economic development in 2017, city leaders said at a workshop Wednesday.
Members of the Rock Hill City Council and the Rock Hill Economic Development Corp. affirmed their commitment to “spec” buildings as effective ways to recruit businesses to York County – and away from nearby Charlotte.
“I think our successes were borne by the economy helping us,” said Bev Carroll, a local attorney and former RHEDC chairwoman. “Businesses have been really active and interested.”
Speculative buildings are typically constructed with the intention of placing the structure on the market without a buyer waiting for it. Companies are usually more likely to consider an area that already has a building suited for them.
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According to Carroll said Rock Hill has been, and will continue to be, forward-thinking in attracting out-of-town businesses that strive for value and a friendly local government. She presented RHEDC’s goals for 2017 during a breakfast meeting Wednesday morning at the City Club of Rock Hill.
She and other city leaders praised the RHEDC’s ability to complete a second spec building at Waterford Business Park, which she said is attracting potential tenants. Rock Hill-based Cope Construction built the 40,000-square-foot building on 7.5 acres at the corner of Waterford Drive and Apex Drive near Dave Lyle Boulevard Extension.
The initial Waterford spec building was constructed in fall 2014, and was sold to Beacon Partners, a Charlotte-based commercial real estate agency.
The new project was made possible, in large part, by a $1.3 million, three-year interest-free loan from Santee Cooper's economic development loan program. The first project received a $1.8 million loan from Santee Cooper, as well as financial support from the city of Rock Hill and the RHEDC.
In 2017, the RHEDC hopes to sell the second Waterford spec building, prepare a third one at TechPark and continue developing properties at Legacy West and Legacy East business parks.
City Council member Kathy Pender said the RHEDC’s 2017 goals are “well-targeted.” The council will discuss whether to approve and endorse those goals at a workshop Tuesday at Winthrop University.
“They’ve had great success with the previous buildings, and they’re adding a lot of value to the community,” Pender said. “It’s always positive to reach out to existing businesses to make sure we’re communicating our goals and figure out how to get new investment.”
RHEDC officials say they’re also looking to engage with property owners and private developers to plan for the development of Aspen Business Park. The corporation announced in 2015 that it was considering developing 246 acres at the intersection of Celanese Road and Heckle Boulevard into the Aspen park.
The RHEDC recently sold around 40 acres at Legacy West Park to Indianapolis-based developer Scannell Properties. Stephen Turner, Rock Hill’s economic and urban development director, said the city received a $300,000 grant for site preparation, cleaning and grading from the S.C. Department of Commerce.
Just last month, Rock Hill officials received a $1.25 million grant from Santee Cooper to help pay for Legacy West, which broke ground last spring off East Springdale Road and U.S. 21, east of Interstate 77.
RHEDC says one of its goals will be to begin a site improvement project by the end of the year.