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Rock Hill defers Riverside on the Catawba vote

The Rock Hill City Council on Monday deferred a final decision on a rezoning petition for the Riverside on the Catawba project and took two actions that pave the way for a mixed-use project at the abandoned textile mill site known as the Bleachery.

The council voted unanimously to postpone the second of two readings of Premier Design Solutions’ petition asking the city to rezone and annex the 32 largely vacant acres just south of the U.S. Highway 21 bridge for residential and commercial uses.

The council delayed a final decision until May 23 to give the developer more time to resolve what the city’s planning staff deemed to be outstanding issues.

They include the updating of site plans to meet city standards on issues such as dumpster locations and fire truck access. The staff also is asking for more details on plans for a walking trail at the site and proposed road access to the Catawba River.

The $70 million development would bring up to 300 apartments and condos and 235,000 square feet of offices, retail, and restaurants to the tract on the east and west sides of Cherry Road. Plans also call for a 130-room hotel.

Premier Design is seeking to break ground on the project by late summer. Development would be completed in several phases over the next two to three years.

The company is seeking a rezoning to master-planned commercial zoning from urban development and planned-unit development. The City Council approved the first reading of the petition last month.

In other action, the council voted 6-1 to approve the second, and final, reading of the city’s revised land-development agreement with Sora-Phelps that calls for the developer to buy the 26-acre Bleachery tract and fund infrastructure improvements, including roads, water, electricity, and sewer. The city plans to use funds from a bond issue to purchase those facilities as the project develops.

Councilman Kevin Sutton cast the sole vote against approving the rezoning petition. He has consistently voted against Sora-Phelp’s proposal, saying that he did not have a good “comfort level” with the developer.

The council, however, was unanimous in its decision Monday to approve the second reading of an ordinance that classifies the site as part of the South Carolina Textile Communities Revitalization Act. The reclassification provides tax incentives for the redevelopment, renovation and rehabilitation of abandoned textile mill sites.

Sora-Phelps’ plans for the Bleachery include a 187,000-square-foot indoor sports complex, 93 units of active-adult housing, 141 apartments, and lodging for 499 students.  The development also will include a hotel, restaurants, retail and office space. Seven acres of the site, once home to the former Rock Hill Printing & Finishing Co., have been designated for open space.

Construction, slated to begin this summer, will be completed in five phases through 2021.

Rock Hill invested $6 million in the purchase of the Bleachery in 2010 to jump-start a redevelopment project named Knowledge Park that covers a corridor from Fountain Park to Winthrop University.

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