Mar 7, 2022 - Business

Panthers pause work on massive $800M Rock Hill campus

panthers rock hill facility football

Rendering courtesy of Tepper Sports & Entertainment

The Carolina Panthers are pausing work on the $800 million practice facility and team headquarters in Rock Hill. Construction on the 240-acre site began in summer 2020 and was supposed to wrap up sometime in 2023.

To date, Tepper Sports & Entertainment has invested more than $170 million into the development. In a statement, a TSE spokesperson said that the team’s partners “have been unable to contribute to the agreed-upon investment to fund the construction of the public infrastructure.”

  • That public infrastructure includes roads, sewage, water, and power.

The city of Rock Hill did not make its initial payment due in March 2021, a person with knowledge of the situation said. TSE continued with construction in good faith anyway.

The city of Rock Hill was “not aware of any March 2021 payment obligation” and has met “all obligations” required under the agreement, a city spokesperson told Axios.

“The city intends to continue honoring our agreement with the Panthers and fully supports the project,” the spokesperson said.

Why it matters: This is an enormous public-private development — undoubtedly one of the largest and most expensive underway in the Carolinas. Team owner David Tepper has said the goal is to make the development not just a team facility, but an entertainment destination where fans can connect and interact.

  • At the new campus, they’d planned to host not just team practices, but a range of community events, from concerts to car shows.

“Given the economic realities, the difficult but prudent decision has been made to pause the project. The ongoing work will continue with our partners to find an economically acceptable solution for all parties to continue this project in Rock Hill,” the TSE spokesperson said.

The pause is expected to begin within a few days. TSE plans to pay all workers in full and extend their wages a week from when the project pauses.

Go deeper: In Rock Hill, Panthers progress on massive $800M team headquarters

Zoom out: Among other state-of-the-art features, the project was supposed to include a 700,000 square-foot building called “The Rock.” Training camp was to take place at The Rock starting in 2023. But it’s unclear how this pause affects that timeline.

Work on the Rock Hill campus comes as Tepper makes plans for a new facility in Charlotte to replace Bank of America Stadium, one of the oldest stadiums in the NFL. Tepper, the league’s richest owner, has said he’s “not building the stadium alone.”

  • This means he could seek support from season ticket holders, as well as the city, county and state governments.

Background: The Panthers bought the land off I-77 from the Hutchison family, who’d owned it since the 1800s and had primarily used it for hunting, for $16 million in spring 2020, the Rock Hill Herald wrote at the time.

  • The state of South Carolina is giving the team $115 million in tax breaks for the campus, the Herald has also reported. York County is giving $225 million in tax breaks for the project’s infrastructure.
  • A representative for York County did not respond to a request for comment.

Brian Symmes, a spokesperson for S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster, says the governor has done “everything necessary” to keep the development moving forward at the state level.

“He’s confident that the locals and the Panthers will quickly resolve any outstanding issues and that construction will resume,” Symmes said in an email.

Read more: Panthers release 10 renderings of new Rock Hill headquarters. Here’s a look inside

Editor’s note: We have updated this story with additional details about the project.

construction in Rock Hill on the Panthers new headquarters
Photo: Katie Peralta Soloff/Axios
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