Rock Hill gives green light to Knowledge Park plan, agreement

Posted June 23, 2015 1:29 am | Filed under Downtown Renewal, Featured, Local News


After lingering in a nine-month holding pattern, Rock Hill’s Knowledge Park development efforts are now ramping to full steam ahead.

City council Monday approved the final version of an amendment to a  Tax Increment Financing, or TIF, district designed to scoop $40 million in deferred property tax revenue from the city, county and Rock Hill school district to a fund to pay for infrastructure improvements in the area.

The city also inked the first public draft of a 50-plus page agreement with Sora Development of Maryland, spelling out obligations from the city and Sora to turn the former blighted bleachery property on West White Street into a mix of retail, student housing and offices.

Among those obligations: Sora will pay the city $5.2 million for the bleachery property, Sora will pay the city $3 million to help with infrastructure improvements and Sora will be designated as the guarantor for the TIF improvement bonds the city intends to draw.

“We’ve been painting with the big brush,” mayor Doug Echols said. “Now we’re going to start panting with the small brush and make sure those details are there.”

Sora intends to build out the bleachery site by 2025, adding 1,000 new jobs, 500-plus beds for students and three office buildings.

The company will start with the Lowenstein building, a 220,000 square foot site, and then move on to a parcel closest to Winthrop University. A parking garage is also expected.