Sep 15, 2022 - Development

David Tepper’s real estate company offers more than $82M to payout creditors and contractors

Carolina Panthers Rock Hill facility rendering courtesy of Tepper Sports and Entertainment

Creditor payouts mark the latest chapter in the David Tepper-Rock Hill debacle.

Driving the news: GT Real Estate Holdings, LLC, David Tepper’s real estate holdings arm, filed a plan of reorganization in Delaware bankruptcy court this week that will provide more than $82 million to creditors. DT Sports Holdings, LLC, another Tepper arm, will provide the funding.

  • The plan is subject to court approval. The court is expected to hold hearing in October to consider the plan, GTRE said in a statement.
  • This comes more than two months after GTRE filed for bankruptcy to “effect an orderly wind-down of the project at Rock Hill, S.C.,” GTRE said in a June statement.

By the numbers: DT Sports Holdings previously provided $20 million to GTRE for debtor-in-possession financing, bringing the prospective total to $121.665 million since the bankruptcy filling.

  • The plan would provide $60.5 million to contractors, subcontractors and general unsecured creditors. GTRE said this should be cover those claims in full.
  • York County would receive $21.165 million for its contributions to the project, plus interest. The county demanded repayment for $21 million in contributions to the project, plus interest, the day after GTRE filed for bankruptcy.
  • The city of Rock Hill would receive $20 million or more from the net proceeds, after clean-up and senior claims, from the sale of the property. Rock Hill told Axios they “don’t have any comments to offer.”

“This Plan reflects GTRE’s promise to expeditiously resolve all claims and make payments to its creditors, including to York County and the City of Rock Hill,” GTRE said in a statement.

Why it matters: The promised $800 million Rock Hill headquarters and practice facility project is dead, with buildings sitting half-constructed. But the impact on the York County community continues.

  • “Both the City and the Tepper Defendants have harmed York County and its taxpayers, and the County should be made whole,” read York County’s June lawsuit against three Tepper holdings (Appaloosa Management, LP, Tepper Sports Holding, Inc. and DT Sports Holding, LLC) and the city of Rock Hill, the county’s largest city.

What they’re saying: “GTRE now has a clear path to emerge from bankruptcy made possible by substantial commitments from DT Sports Holding, which has made available to GTRE more than $82 million in cash in an effort to bring this process to an orderly and equitable conclusion,” GTRE said in a statement.

Between the lines: Filing for bankruptcy will not impact Tepper Sports and Entertainment franchises, the Panthers and Charlotte FC, per GTRE.

Context: Construction on the massive project began in summer 2020 and was scheduled to wrap up in 2023.

  • The situation became increasingly tense in March when the Panthers paused work and canceled the contract in April on the 240-acre site, due to the team’s partners having “been unable to contribute to the agreed-upon investment to fund the construction of the public infrastructure,” per a Tepper Sports and Entertainment spokesperson.
  • “We have sent notices to the city to formally terminate the previous agreements. Accordingly, we are prepared to sit down with the city and other interested parties to discuss the significant challenges ahead,” TSE’s representative in the deal, GT Real Estate Holdings, LLC, said in an April statement.

The intrigue: Clouds continue to hover over Tepper’s holdings, both on and off the field. Charlotte FC fired its inaugural head coach, Miguel Ángel Ramírez, three months into the inaugural season. Plus TSE’s CEO, Nick Kelly, stepped down in May after a little over three months on the job.

Of note: TSE representatives said they have no comment. A York County spokesperson could not be reached for a comment.

Read more: Concerns linger as work stoppage at Panthers’ HQ drags on

Here’s a timeline of TSE’s relationship with Rock Hill.

July 2020: The Carolina Panthers broke ground in South Carolina, which was set to include entertainment, dining, residential, retail and medical facilities in addition to the new practice facilities and team.

Construction on the site in Rock Hill. Photo: Katie Peralta Soloff/Axios
Photo: Katie Peralta Soloff/Axios
Photo: Katie Peralta Soloff/Axios
panthers rock hill facility football
Carolina Panthers Rock Hill facility rendering courtesy of Tepper Sports and Entertainment

Feb. 26, 2021: GTRE said Rock Hill,“became delinquent on their obligation to fund the public infrastructure. Despite our persistent efforts throughout 2021, the City of Rock Hill failed to issue the bonds or provide the funding for the public infrastructure for the project.”

March 7, 2022: The Panthers pause work in Rock Hill.

  • TSE invested more than $170 million in development, Axios’ Katie Peralta Soloff reported.

March 18, 2022: TSE issued a default notice on March 18, 2022, which gave Rock Hill 30 days to pay.

  • “It is unfortunate that some recently decided to conduct a misguided, destructive public relations campaign to obscure their failures,” GTRE said.

March 19, 2022: Discussions between York County officials and TSE continue, but at least one York County official had other concerns as the work stoppage dragged on, Katie reported.

April 19, 2022: TSE terminates its contract with the city of Rock Hill.

June 1, 2022: GTRE files for bankruptcy.

June 2, 2022: York County releases a statement demanding GTRE repay them $21 million, plus interest, for their contribution to upgrading Mt. Gallant Road, which borders the project.

June 9, 2022: York County files a lawsuit against Appaloosa Management, LP, DT Sports Holding, LLC, Tepper Sports Holding, Inc. and the City of Rock Hill.

Aug. 11, 2022: GTRE announces a plan to repay creditors and contractors more than $82 million.

Sept. 7, 2022: Rock Hill alleges Tepper real estate holding company committed fraud against the city.

Sept. 13, 2022: GTRE amended its plan for repaying creditors that may limit how much and when the city of Rock Hill and York County get repaid.

Editor’s note: This story was originally published on April 19, 2022. It was updated on Sept. 15, 2022. 

panthers rock hill facility football
Carolina Panthers Rock Hill facility rendering courtesy of Tepper Sports and Entertainment
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