By: Felipe Rivas
2 min read February 2020 — About an hour south of Charlotte, in South Carolina, a city is experiencing an evolution much like its counterpart in North Carolina. Located in York County, the city of Rock Hill is crystallizing its future by moving past its textile history to make way for new development anchored by education and projects related to sports tourism. According to York County leaders, there are over half a billion dollars worth of projects under construction or in the pipeline, while completed projects have begun to change the landscape of Rock Hill and its Downtown.
Much like Charlotte, the city of Rock Hill is focused on attracting and retaining talent as part of its economic development master plan, leveraging the growth of Winthrop University as the centerpiece of the capital projects happening in the area. The seminal project in the region, University Center, located in the Knowledge Park area, has already seen $100 million of total investment. “It’s a 23-acre former mill site that closed in the 1990s and employed around 5,000 people,” University Center developer Skip Tuttle told Invest: Charlotte. “It links Winthrop University to Downtown Rock Hill on the other side.” When complete, the project will account for about $250 million of development in Downtown Rock Hill. Tuttle, president of the Tuttle Company, is also making way for new office space in the nearby Lowenstein building featuring 225,000 feet of Class-A space, slated to attract new businesses to the region. “We have progressed rapidly on the redevelopment and have leased 70 percent of it. There are 350 people working there now in 10 firms,” he said.
Another game changer for the region has been the Rock Hill Sports and Event Center. Opened
In January, the center welcomed 13,000 people during its first month in business, Tuttle said. “It has proven to be a phenomenal success, to the point that virtually every week this year it is booked,” he said. The center will serve as a mecca for indoor amateur sports ranging from gymnastics, volleyball, basketball, competitive cheerleading, and even cornhole. “It is going to be a catalyst for the rest of what we are doing in Rock Hill, which includes restaurants, breweries, outdoor entertainment venues, as well as office complexes. It is a true live, work, and play environment,” Tuttle said.
Much of Rock Hill’s success can be attributed to the flurry of development and economic diversification happening in the Queen City. “There is no question that we are located in an area that is a desirable place to be because we are close to a major metropolitan area with an international airport less than 30 minutes away,” Tuttle said. “We have companies that are here because of the proximity to that airport and the other things that Charlotte has to offer.” Yet, Tuttle believes that Rock Hill has the workforce and infrastructure needed to create its own boom in economic growth and diversification. “About 56,000 people a day commute to Charlotte from York County. The local economic development folks are using that as a tool to recruit businesses by telling leaders that those highly trained, well-qualified individuals who leave York County to work in Charlotte could be working for them in Rock Hill,” he said, “And it is working.”
To learn more about our interviewees, visit: https://tuttleco.com/