City Leaders: ‘Knowledge Park’ progress is underway

Posted March 14, 2013 4:10 pm | Filed under Downtown Renewal, Featured, Local News

In the next few months, City of Rock Hill staff will start reviewing qualifications from a pool of 70 developers as to who might be tasked with turning the city’s textile corridor into a new multi-use plan known as Knowledge Park.

City Council reviewed the latest renderings of what parts of the project might look like Thursday. Urban Planner Tom Walsh said what sets Rock Hill’s version apart is a unique public-private partnership.

Rock Hill City Manager David Vehaun said that approach has worked well for Rock Hill in the past.

Planners said they are looking to approach the project in a multi-phase effort linking Rock Hill’s downtown with Winthrop University.

Walsh said that right now, he lives in a similar project completed several years ago in downtown Atlanta. Old mills turned into loft apartment have attracted a wide variety of tenants.

Last month, 70 Requests for Qualifications were sent out to developers whom the city has previously worked with.

Meanwhile, a number of infrastructure improvements along White Street adjacent to the property have been underway in the last several months paving the way for a ripe development atmosphere.

Walsh said one of those infrastructure improvements that is on the way is a streetcar. He said Wednesday that streetcar is a vital part of the project — and will be very viable asset in the years to come.

The deadline for those qualifications is April 8.

City staff are set to review the developers qualifications this summer before a recommendation to city council in July or August.