Customers soon will be able to grab a latte and a few pounds of dog chow for Fido at the shopping center going up at the corner of North Cherry Road and Charlotte Avenue in Rock Hill. The center, within easy walking distance of Winthrop University, is a potential element in the development of College Town, the effort to make the retail areas around the university more college friendly.
The site, which once housed a BP gas station and a nearby pub and restaurant, will be turned into a 9,180-square foot shopping center. Future tenants will include a Starbucks and a Pet Supermarket.
Pet Supermarket, whose nearest location is in Matthews, N.C., offers food and other supplies for your companion animals whether they walk, swim or fly. Developers hope the location will be convenient to nearby neighborhoods as well as commuters headed to Interstate 77 on Cherry Road.
The Starbucks, which also is a potential stop for morning commuters, should appeal to students as well. While Winthrop already features a small location on Winthrop’s campus, the larger venue will have the features that attract customers who like to linger over coffee, check Facebook and commune with friends both inside and at an outside seating area.
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How to make the area around campus more attractive to students and more easily accessible to foot traffic has been a puzzle local planners have wrestled with for years. And much of the focus has been on ways to create more destinations along Cherry road adjacent to the campus.
While students can reach restaurants and take care of a variety of needs at places such as an Earth Fare grocery store, a post office and pharmacies by crossing Cherry Road, it’s a busy thoroughfare best crossed at a traffic light. The new shopping center, by contrast, is on the Winthrop side of the street.
This part of Cherry Road still is a long way from being the pedestrian-friendly stretch of shops and cafes that some planners have envisioned. But we hope the College Town vision continues to animate the discussion about the future of Cherry Road and that it is part of the master plan for the development of University Center on the former site of the Rock Hill Printing & Finishing Co.
One thing is certain: Cherry Road will continue to be one of the city’s primary commercial sectors for the foreseeable future. We hope it can continue to fulfill that function while also catering to the needs of Winthrop students and being part of the College Town concept.