Construction of the state-of-the-art Carolina Panthers headquarters in Rock Hill has been put on hold, Tepper Sports & Entertainment said Monday.
The first phase of construction was expected to be completed in 2023, but the city of Rock Hill has not made its initial payment, which was due in March 2021, according to a source familiar with the situation.
The company continued construction but never received payment from the city.
“We are committed to enhancing the Carolinas community that supports our team and our players,” Tepper Sports & Entertainment said in the statement. “To that end, while GT Real Estate Holdings, LLC has invested over $170 million in the development of Rock Hill, our partners have been unable to contribute to the agreed investment to fund the construction of the Rock Hill. public infrastructure.
“Given the economic realities, the difficult but prudent decision has been made to put the project on hold. Ongoing work will continue with our partners to find an economically acceptable solution for all parties to continue this project in Rock Hill.
The expected investment from the city was to finance the project’s infrastructure, which includes roads, water and electricity pipes and sewers, the source said. TS&E will continue to pay all site workers and extend their pay by one week from the time the project is suspended.
A little after 4 p.m. Monday, Rock Hill Mayor John Gettys said he had recently spoken with team officials. He said the team plans to assess the project given recent economic variables such as COVID and inflation.
“We’ll sit back and wait to see what they plan to do,” Gettys said.
As to whether the entire Rock Hill project is in jeopardy, Gettys said it was a team decision.
“It’s really a question for them,” he said. “That’s not my impression of our conversation.”
Gettys said it wasn’t about the city’s commitment. The city, county, and state have been part of various economic incentive agreements to attract Project Panthers. The city agreed to earmark decades of potential tax revenue from the project toward promised infrastructure improvements for the team.
“We were all-in from the start,” Gettys said.
Rock Hill City manager David Vehaun said that to his knowledge, “the city has fulfilled all financial obligations incumbent on us under the agreement.”
The Panthers broke ground on the 240-acre property in July 2020.
The nearly 700,000 square foot training facility is meant to include an indoor training ground and is expected to help promote growth in the surrounding area, while improving the team environment.
It will be one of the largest facilities in the NFL, if not the largest, and will rival the Dallas Cowboys headquarters in Frisco, Texas.
South Carolina offered about $115 million in incentives for the Panthers to move their headquarters there from their home at Bank of America Stadium. In total, the Panthers are investing over $1 billion to develop and build the facility.
The facility is meant to be a big economic boost for the city and state.
While the team builds a training facility, it will also be a sports and entertainment venue with the potential to host a variety of events, from football games to high school championships and school events. business and concerts.
It was one of the biggest draws in town.
However, since the start of construction, they have encountered several problems. The project was originally scheduled to open in August 2022, but the COVID-19 pandemic has caused some delays.
Additionally, the team had previously warned the county that the project would be in jeopardy after the City of Rock Hill missed its payments.
Former Panthers chief operating officer Mark Hart sent a letter to York County manager David Hudspeth last May fearing that without the county’s help, the city would get the $225,000 in bonds necessary for the project.
“The York County government is aware of the Carolina Panthers’ announcement to halt construction of team headquarters and practice facilities in Rock Hill,” the county said in a statement. statement on Monday. “While York County is not responsible for funding infrastructure at the site, county staff are in communication with the Carolina Panthers and hope to work toward a solution that protects county ratepayers.”
This story was originally published March 7, 2022 4:15 p.m.