(Rock Hill, S.C.) — Rock Hill residents can expect to see some changes around town in the coming years with the Carolina Panthers expected to relocate their facilities to York County, which should have a large economic impact on the city.
The team announced its plans to relocate its team facilities, training site and headquarters to Rock Hill in 2022.
The S.C. Senate has already agreed to provide $115 million in tax incentives to the Panthers to facilitate the move. The move was made official when South Carolina Governor, Henry McMasters signed the incentive bill in June 2019.
Nicholas Moellman, Winthrop University associate professor of economics, said the move could possibly bring more amenities to the area, which could benefit Rock Hill’s economy.
“When the Panthers move here, there will be other businesses that spring up around that. We are going to have hotels, restaurants, you know other types of amenities that people who either move here or come here to see the panthers are going to want to enjoy. Those type of places will provide the types of jobs that low-income individuals are eligible for and might take,” said Moellman.
In November, Mark Hart, chief operating officer of The Herald, said he expects many Panthers players, coaches and staff to move to Rock Hill once the facility is built.
“A lot of players and coaches like to live as close to work as possible,” said Hart. “You’re going to see a great number of those players move and live in this community because they want to be able to go to work in five minutes. It’s just the way life is.”
Thus, Rock Hill residents might have a chance to see their favorite players around town or even living next door to them, which is exciting for many fans.
“I think it’d be cool to see the Panthers practicing or see them around Rock Hill,” said Christopher Girgenti, a library specialist at Winthrop.
Rock Hill City Councilmember John Black (Ward 4) said he is also excited about the news, as the Panthers move could help make the city, which already hosts a number of sports events a year, a sports tourism hub.
However, Black and Moellman both expressed concern the move could impact housing costs in the area.
“You know people who bring in lots of money will want finer upscale living, which I think you’ll see a lot of that, but you got to remember it’s not just on site that it will affect,” said Black.
“I think as you see more apartments and more people moving in, even if they’re more upscale, it does free up and put pressure on apartments around the community to either lower prices, attract new renters or whatever.”
Construction has not started yet at the proposed site off of Interstate 77 and Eden Terrace Road and there are also plans to add a new exit on the highway.
However, ground is expected to be broken this spring and the Panthers have said they hope to host the first training camp at the site in August 2022.