Knowledge Park gets its first set of rules

Rock Hill is taking another step toward developing its $200 million Knowledge Park business community with the tentative approval of a master plan.

That plan sets general guidelines for redeveloping the former Rock Hill Printing and Finishing Co. plant.

Last week, Rock Hill City Council gave first reading to zoning changes and set those broad development guidelines for the commercial side of Knowledge Park.  The 26-acre site will include commercial, office, residential, college support and civic development.

The idea is to make the building fit with the existing buildings at the former textile mill development, says Bill Meyer, Rock Hill planning director.

“The intent that’s outlined in a lot of the photos and drawings is to build on the historic mill architecture and to put in contemporary elements that are compatible with that architecture,” Meyer says.

And parking, there’s room for lots of parking.  It would include 2,200 spaces in four structures and in the basement of the Lowenstein building.  And there’s surface parking along the streets of the development.

The site is a part of Knowledge Park, which includes downtown, also called Old Town.  Knowledge Park gets its name for an effort in Rock Hill to bring knowledge-based jobs to the city as a preference over production jobs.

Master developer Sora-Phelps estimates the project could attract 1,200 jobs.

The Bleachery site development is also seen as a way to connect Winthrop University, located at one end of the site, with Old Town Rock Hill, located at the other end.  Tentative plans call for student housing in Knowledge Park and perhaps even a shared library.

The commercial area would include space for a 60-room hotel, more than 400 beds of student housing, almost 120,000 square feet of restaurant and retail shop space and 42,000 square feet of office space.  It also has apartments, condos and an art gallery and museum.

By Ken Elkins, Staff Reporter with the Charlotte Business Journal