Ahead of a recommendation before city council later this summer, Rock Hill’s Knowledge Park Leadership Group is mulling over developers’ plans for turning the city’s main textile corridor into a healthy mix of business and residential space connecting Winthrop University with the downtown corridor.
The group met Thursday, led by Rock Hill Economic Development Director Stephen Turner, learning the latest timeline of what decisions will come before the group in the months ahead.
The decisions follow presentations made earlier this month by a mix of master developers as well as firms interested in developing specific portions of the property. The developers, nine in total, included local established firms like the Warren Norman Company to firms across the country. Some, like Warren Norman, have experience in developing shopping centers, while others like Fairmont Properties of Cleveland, Ohio, have experience developing a college town surrounding Kent State University.
On July 16, the group will meet with Rock Hill City Council to present their latest progress on the project and share the results of the Request for Qualification process.
“The strength of this Knowledge Park efforts is that it i not a city plan for development — it is a community plan for redevelopment that’s being led by business leaders,” said Turner explained to WRHI. “The city has a significant role to play but this isn’t, by nature, a City of Rock Hill Decision.”
In August, the group will make similar presentations to the Rock Hill Economic Development Corporation, followed by a tentative selection of the master developer for Knowledge Park. That will be followed, also in August, with the Leadership Group working with city council towards pre-development activities.
Those pre-development efforts will likely go through several drafts with council before final approval in September.
Turner says the Leadership Group will face a tough decision in the months ahead in choosing the final developer, but feels confident the project will be a success.
“We’re not creating something from scratch here,” Turner said. “There are other people who’ve done this; who’ve been down this road before.”