Culture and Heritage Foundation plans sale of 274 acres on the Catawba

Posted December 20, 2013 6:04 pm | Filed under Featured, Local News

York County’s Culture and Heritage Foundation is in the midst of a deal to sell off 274 acres of land along the Catawba River.

Charlotte developer Crescent Communities plans to build a 556-acre development off Sutton Road in York County, west of Interstate 77. The master plan already includes plans to develop 282 acres of land Crescent already owns, discussions now made public include the sale of land owned by the Foundation.

The Foundation was gifted the land in 1998 by Jane Spratt McColl, with the mindset of the Foundation developing the land at its own pace and build a future Museum of York County. McColl’s 400-acre donation was given with few restrictions — a measure that was underscored in July following an affidavit signed by McColl supporting the wishes of the Foundation.

“The Crescent purchase will help fulfill the Foundation’s vision for the Catawba River property,” said  Bill Easley, chair of the Culture & Heritage Foundation. “Finding a developer that respects the environmental and historical significance of the land is important to us. And, the sale will enable the Foundation to fund initiatives benefitting York County citizens as our donor intended.”

The property and the Foundation came under fire following a failed development deal sparked by the economic downturn in 2008. Critics scoffed the Foundation after it was left owing $3.4 million to former development partner Cherokee Partners. In the years since, a series of land deals have left the Foundation able to pay off the debt to Cherokee. The Foundation broken off pieces of the property to Carolinas Healthcare Systems and the Fort Mill School District, among others.

The deal announced Friday will leave the foundation with 60 remaining acres to build a new museum. Crescent plans to use the Foundation property to build nearly 700 homes in one of the fastest-growing parts of York County.

“This property has a rich history and beautiful topography with its river views, forests and quarry, and we intend to preserve its character,” said Crescent Senior Vice President Keith Glenn. “Our place-making model emphasizes genuine experiences, life’s simple pleasures and a strong sense of community. Amenities such as walking and hiking trails, bike paths and green spaces will honor the land and create a space where our residents can connect with the outdoors and with each other.”

Crescent is working on a series of other developments in the area — including Chapel Cove in Lake Wylie and Springfield in Fort Mill.

Development on the property is set to get underway in late 2014.