The Knowledge Park will be the dynamic center of Rock Hill’s 21st century economy. Designed to be home to knowledge economy businesses and jobs, it is technologically advanced, yet rooted in the city’s rich history.
Supported by a diverse community of learners, it offers an appealing urban lifestyle built upon a model of economic and environmental sustainability.
The Knowledge Park will be the dynamic center of Rock Hill’s 21st century economy. Designed to be home to knowledge economy businesses and jobs, it is technologically advanced, yet rooted in the city’s rich history. Supported by a diverse community of learners, it offers an appealing urban lifestyle built upon a model of economic and environmental sustainability.
Connect Downtown Rock Hill and Winthrop University, allowing these nodes of activity to positively impact the local economy.
The development of the Knowledge Park is led by the Knowledge Park Leadership Group. A collaboration of public and private leaders from education, business, and government have come together to lead change. The partners in this effort bring real estate, development projects, and expertise to this effort.
The Knowledge Park includes a number of key landmarks and locations in Rock Hill. The Knowledge Park stretches from Comporium Communications’ headquarters and the Old Town East development project to Winthrop University. Other key landmarks within the redevelopment area include Rock Hill City Hall, The Cotton Factory, Main Street (downtown core), and the former Rock Hill Printing and Finishing (Bleachery) property.
The Knowledge Park Leadership Group has launched this Request for Qualifications (RFQ) seeking developers to execute this economic development vision. Developers are encouraged to submit their qualifications and ideas to serve as a lead (master) developer or to serve as an individual project developer. Responses are due to this RFQ by April 8, 2013.
Knowledge economy businesses are being targeted with this effort. A large concentration of information-based jobs is already present in the Knowledge Park at employers like Williams and Fudge, Comporium Communications, and The Start Group. Knowledge economy businesses are compatible with this effort because of various assets and efforts that the Knowledge Park offers:
The Knowledge Park is a multi-faceted undertaking containing these key attributes:
One Stop Shop
At several development sites, the City of Rock Hill manages many of the necessary development components (permits, real estate ownership, utilities, TIF, incentives, etc.) needed by developers.
Multiple Tax Credits
The “stacking” of several tax credits could enable developers to deliver existing buildings at significantly below-market lease rates.
The City of Rock Hill and Comporium Communications provide local direction of electric and telecommunications services, respectively. Efforts are already underway to create “above market” services (reliability, redundancy, throughput, etc.) in order to create distinct competitive advantages.
The City of Rock Hill is scheduled to invest over $50 million in the Knowledge Park to include a streetcar, new streets, parking, electric substation and distribution, sanitary sewers, stormwater facilities, and water services.
Projects now underway (Old Town Market, Old Town East) and planned (139 Main, Family Trust Federal Credit Union headquarters) to start soon provide momentum for additional development activities and indicate a willingness on the part of the private sector to invest in Old Town.
The business and political leadership of Rock Hill has come together to lead this RFQ effort.
Community leaders and government officials are committed to urban revitalization.
The Main Street core area is visually appealing, active, diverse, and a focal point
There are several markets associated with the Knowledge Park within the local economy that are underserved. These markets offer opportunities retail, housing, service, and other providers. The student population at Winthrop University is a specific market to serve going forward.
Education and Training
Knowledge economy businesses often thrive alongside colleges and universities. Winthrop University and York Technical College can provide customized training and they provide a steady stream of talent.
Rising energy costs will drive jobs and development to walkable, mixed-use districts served by public transportation, such as the Knowledge Park.
Strong financial incentives are already in place and new incentives specifically targeted at knowledge economy businesses are being pursued.
Knowledge economy employees favor urban, mixed used environments with associated amenities – housing, restaurants, arts, entertainment, social interaction, etc.
With a higher than average unemployment rate, an available, affordable, and ambitious workforce is available to Knowledge Park businesses.
The Knowledge Park is easily accessed (4 miles to exit 79) from Interstate 77 via two 4-lane arterial roadways. Businesses in Rock Hill can access the Charlotte Douglas International Airport (non-stop service to 142 destinations) for air travel within 40 minutes.
A streetcar can serve as a development catalyst to bring new development to vacant or underutilized sites. The proposed streetcar can connect Winthrop University and downtown along with numerous other centers of activity, both existing and to be developed.
Buildings such as the former Lowenstein Building provide strong opportunities for expedite redevelopment, resulting in affordable and unique spaces.
Concentration of Employees
The largest concentration of employees (5,409 persons – ESRI 2012) within York County exists within the Knowledge Park; this base can be built upon.