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There’s a new plan for the former Good Motor Co. site in Rock Hill, and it’s happening quickly.
The $45 million mixed-use project The Exchange at Old Town Depot should begin construction in mid-2020. It will have 191 apartments, more than 45,000 square feet of retail and other business space, a new streetscape with public courtyards, artwork and amenity areas.
Beau McIntosh and A.J. Klenk with Catalyst Capital Partners outlined plans Oct. 25 at a Rock Hill Economic Development Corporation retreat. The site plan shows two apartment buildings and townhomes, a dog park and parking areas. There are public art spaces, retail or offices, a fitness site, and possible restaurant or brewery locations.
The site is more than 6 acres in downtown Rock Hill surrounded by Dave Lyle Boulevard, White Street and Oakland Avenue. Several existing brick buildings on site will remain. New commercial and retail space, along with parking, will be added.
Upscale one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments will have an outdoor pool and fitness areas, along with social spaces.
“We’ve had our eye on Rock Hill for quite some time,” McIntosh said. “We originally were drawn to this project.”
The site is almost a full block of historic and new structures.
“We saw tremendous opportunity combining buildings,” McIntosh said. “We saw this as an opportunity to connect a lot of the (existing) projects in the area.”
Existing buildings on White Street are under contract for purchase, with closings expected early next year. The plan includes upgrades to pedestrian areas along the street, where project leaders see people gathering where they live and work.
“We see a lot of opportunity for a lot of activation, public festivals and activities and things in that area,” McIntosh said.
A new building on the Oakland Avenue end will add business tenants. There will be some workforce housing. Major business tenants could be announced in a few weeks. The plan includes a $250,000 contribution to the city for a public park.
Project leaders say The Exchange will be transformative to downtown.
“Obviously dropping 190 apartment units at this location will really start to create that full-time buzz on the street,” Klenk said.
Plans also show four-story apartment buildings. Talk of street festivals, an interior courtyard and other events came up, as did public parking at a new two-story deck.
“One full level of that deck will be for public parking, free of charge,” Klenk said.
The site will be bustling with activity, much more so than was planned the past decade or so.
“York County bought the Good Motor Co. site over 10 years ago as a site for a future new library,” said Stephen Turner, RHEDC economic and urban development director. “That project sort of fell off the table.”
About a year ago, RHEDC contracted to purchase the site from York County to allow for state incentives to clean up the property for a new owner. The plan all along was for RHEDC to get the site ready for a developer to come in and create something new downtown.
“We have been involved in leading the effort to do environmental work on that site,” Turner said. “That process is now at the tail end.”
The economic development group signed a letter of intent to sell the property earlier this year to Catalyst. A Charlotte-based real estate development and investment firm, Catalyst’s work includes more than 3,200 apartment units and more than $500 million in active development projects and investments.
Partnering on the project is URS Capital Partners, a New York real estate investment company. That group counts more than $250 million in asset investment and 3,500 residential units in the past decade.
Project partners credit the city’s work and vision for revitalizing its downtown at The Exchange and beyond.
“The city of Rock Hill has an incredible long-term vision and a well-conceived plan for execution, and we are excited to partner with them on this fully integrated, experience-driven development,” Klenk said.
McIntosh talks about social integration The Exchange can bring to people living and working in the area.
“The location of this site is central to so much of what is happening around Rock Hill — Knowledge Park, Winthrop University, Fountain Park and all of the food and entertainment venues in and around Old Town Rock Hill.”