The plan for up to 2,000 new Rock Hill jobs is on track

A Rock Hill business park set to bring up to 2,000 new jobs is a step closer to construction.

On Monday night Rock Hill City Council voted to move forward with an agreement between the city, public and private stakeholders to create a commerce site near the county airport.

“It is a preliminary agreement,” said Stephen Turner, director of economic and urban development for the Rock Hill Economic Development Corp. “It is not binding the city to anything. What it really does is sets forth the plans for Aspen Business Park among all the different parties to this park.”

The agreement allows work to begin on construction plans. An engineering design contract should come within 30 days. Stakeholders can begin work on a formal development agreement to finalize plans.

The agreement approved Monday night involves the city and economic development corporation, along with Childress Klein Properties and two private landowners. It’s roughly between Celanese/Old York roads and Heckle Boulevard.

Rock Hill Economic Development owns 98 acres near Old York and Aspendale roads. The private landowners have 115 acres beside it. The two joined sites will operate as separate projects but will share improvements like road and utility service.

The first phase of the project should cost about $2.8 million. It would include half a mile of road off S.C. 161, entering the site at Museum Road. Contributions would come from a Santee Cooper grant ($767,500), Rock Hill and York County ($500,000 each), Childress Klein ($451,450), a Locate South Carolina grant ($300,000) and the economic development corporation ($258,718).

Turner said the project dates back to discussion from 2012 to 2014.

“There was a lot of discussion in the community about the dwindling supply of industrial sites that existed,” he said.

In 2015, the city and economic development group began discussion about Aspen with the property owners. Childress Klein would come on later.

“Plans have been developed for a 220-acre business park,” Turner said. “About 160 is net usable acres for business sites within that park. The 160 acres can, conservatively, serve about 1.6 million square feet of industrial buildings.”

Once built, the project could be a significant employer in the area.

“Those buildings and their contents would likely have a tax value of between $200- and $250 million dollars,” Turner said. “The businesses that would locate here would probably provide somewhere between 1,500 and 2,000 jobs.”

Aspen is one of several business parks the economic development corporation is working on now. Several other developments in Rock Hill are turning former mill space into homes, commercial, restaurants and more. The Aspen project involves a rezoning for some of the property.

By John Marks, Staff Reporter with The Herald