Developers looking to turn the grounds of a former baseball stadium into a mix of commercial development and housing now have the green light from the York County Council.
The council on Monday unanimously approved a rezoning request from the Cato fashion company that will allow Cato to complete a new, mixed-use development for the former site of Knights Stadium in the Fort Mill area. The stadium has already been demolished, but Cato needed a new zoning classification to begin construction on the new planned development.
The 350-acre site at the intersection of Interstate 77 and Gold Hill Road will eventually host a mix of housing, retail shops and office space.
Cato and its partner, Lincoln Harris – a Charlotte developer that specializes in high-end office space – plan to put in 240 apartments, a 150-room hotel, 100,000 square feet of retail space and 500,000 square feet of office space.
After the initial phase of development, plans call for 5,270,000 square feet of office space, 400,000 square feet of retail space and 600 residential units.
The maximum amount of office, retail and residential space is flexible, since a second traffic study will not be done until improvements to the interchange at Gold Hill Road and I-77 are completed in 2018, as part of a “Pennies For Progress” project.
The proposal has raised concerns, especially as York County considers a freeze on new housing plats in the Fort Mill area. County planning staff said the intensive development would put more traffic on existing roads that are inadequate to carry current traffic, and Fort Mill school district officials are concerned about the number of new students the project will generate – 391 students, according to an analysis by the school district.
Commercial and multi-family housing pays property taxes that fund schools. But the school district, in a letter to the county, said the tax revenue from the projects does not cover anticipated costs.
But at a public hearing prior to Monday’s council vote, only a representative of Lincoln Harris spoke in favor of the new development.
The Knights Stadium development would not be affected by York County’s proposed housing freeze, which will only apply to new plats to build houses, whether multi-family or single-family houses. The council isn’t expected to vote on that proposal until April.
Knights Stadium stood next to a baseball-shaped water tower, visible from I-77, from 1990 to 2014. The Charlotte Knights played their final season south of the state line in 2013 before the AAA team moved in 2014 into in the new BB&T Ballpark in downtown Charlotte.