What’s next for Knowledge Park? Taking Rock Hill from a ‘good town’ to a ‘great city’

The long-empty Lowenstein Building on White Street has opened its doors.

The Lowenstein Building hosted the ribbon cutting for Atlas Copco Thursday morning – and Mayor John Gettys says this is just the beginning for Rock Hill.

“Like the phoenix we’re rising from the ashes here at Rock Hill,” he said.

And he means that literally. Gettys said city leaders were afraid the area where Knowledge Park’s University Center is based would never recover after a fire in 2009.

But Thursday he told Atlas Copco: “You are a leader in the resurgence of Rock Hill.”

The Rock Hill Atlas Copco office will be the U.S. headquarters for the company, which brings in over $2 billion every year, said Atlas Copco Compressors USA President Robert Eshelman.

Atlas Copco hosted the grand opening of its new $25 million, 197,000-square-foot production facility in Riverwalk Business Park in May 2017.

Eshelman said he looks forward to working in Knowledge Park, which city officials say will be the site of a hotel, an indoor sports arena, and many other businesses.

Principal developer Skip Tuttle said seven other businesses plan to move in to the Lowenstein Building by summer.

The Lowenstein Building will host 150 Atlas Copco employees, a majority of whom were hired locally, said Erik Arfalk, vice president of marketing, communications and branding. The Atlas Copco office space in the Lowenstein Building is about 38,000 square feet on the ground and fifth floors.

Gettys said, as the area grows, city leaders will focus on providing affordable housing, and he hopes to hear from diverse voices in the community on the best way to do that.

“To be a successful city, you have to have strong relationships,” Gettys said. “You have to have friendships. you have to have people you trust, people that you know you can count on and you have to have a vision for what our better days are.

“… And you know Atlas Copco is that kind of partner to change a city.”

Hannah Smoot: 803-329-4068