Fort Mill Times

$100M vision for 100 acres

A new city hall, a five-star restaurant and maybe an elementary school could be part of a development being considered on land in and around Tega Cay.

Mike Thomas, of Thomco, is pursuing a development plan with Tega Cay that would see the addition of about 100 acres to the city's footprint and tax base. Overall, the development would encompass 122 acres, including 26 acres covered by a old construction and demolition landfill carved out of the Sadie O. McCall property on Gold Hill Road.

The project will be a mix of commercial and residential components, with as many as 200 residential units, Thomas said.

"It's going to be a significant development with land costs exceeding $10 million," he said. "The aggregate cost with improvements will be well over $100 million."

As development talks have progressed with the city, Thomas said he has scaled down the residential component and increased the commercial side. Thomas calls the project a "small town village concept," or a "retro townscape." He envisions bringing in a five-star restaurant and boutique hotel, a municipal building for the city, some other commercial space and possibly an elementary school site for the Fort Mill School District.

However, he added, giving a site to the district free of charge may make the project financially unfeasible. He said an outright land gift was unlikely, but that some "special treatment" on the price of such a site may be possible for the district.

"We'll work with [Thomas] and the school district for the best solution," Tega Cay Mayor Bob Runde said. "It will have to be a three-way street between the city, Thomco and the school district."

Ideally, Runde said, the district would get a 20-acre site, but with the limitations on the size of the site, dictated by the overall size of the project, he said a 10 to 12-acre site may be all that is available. The city is pushing for a "straight up land gift," he said, but there may be some cost associated with the land.

"Without enough land (for the school district) I won't support it," Runde said. "They can do it on 12-15 acres, it might have to be two stories, but if we can work that out I'd say let's make it happen because it will be good for everyone."

Fort Mill Schools Superintendent Keith Callicutt said an elementary school is possible on a site less than 20 acres, though it is not ideal.

"We've encouraged him to donate a site to us," Callicutt said, "but he's not made that commitment to us yet."