Panthers end deal with Rock Hill for $800 million training facility, GTRE says

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ROCK HILL, SC (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – After weeks of silence, the Panthers have terminated draft agreements with the city of Rock Hill, citing the failure of the bond issue or the funding of the training center of $800 million from the team, according to a statement from GT Real Estate.

“On February 26, 2021, the City of Rock Hill defaulted on its obligation to fund public infrastructure. Despite our persistent efforts throughout 2021, the City of Rock Hill has not issued the bonds or provided the public infrastructure funding for the project,” GTRE said in a released statement.

GTRE went on to state, “On March 18, 2022, GTRE issued a Notice of Default and the City failed to remedy its default within the prescribed 30-day period. It is unfortunate that some have recently decided to carry out a misguided and destructive public relations campaign to cover up their failures.

“We have sent notices to the City to formally terminate previous agreements. Accordingly, we are prepared to sit down with the City and other interested parties to discuss the significant challenges ahead. said GTRE.

For weeks, Tepper Sports said the city of Rock Hill failed to meet the end of its deal, where it was supposed to issue bonds for $225 million in taxpayer funding.

“We knew there was some tension in the room,” said York County Councilor William “Bump” Roddey. “Well, I think it’s come full circle. You know I knew then that Rock Hill had a financial problem, I now know that Rock Hill has a financial problem and the whole city, county and state knows that Rock Hill has a financial problem because of the Panthers who solidified this by putting them in default of terminating the agreement solely on the basis of their inability to obtain the funding they were promised.

With Rock Hill town leaders essentially in hiding, York County stepped in to come up with an alternate plan to try to save the case. Councilor Guffey said the county had offered to forego facility and corporate office tax revenue for 30 years if Tepper continued construction, paying for everything upfront with its own money, at a negotiated rate for properties. remaining, something Tepper has said in the past he would never do.

With the termination announced, the Panthers stand to lose north of $100 million in South Carolina tax credits if the project is not completed by 2024. But the city of Rock Hill, the York County and the State of South Carolina stand to lose far more than that, if they don’t find a way to close this deal.

Statement sent to Queen City News by SC Gov. McMaster:

“Today’s announcement by the Panthers is a disappointment, as we had hoped they would be part of South Carolina’s record and booming economy.

In 2021, we broke decade-long records for recruitment, investment and expansion, announcing 18,000 new jobs and $5.6 billion in capital investment. And our state government’s finances are in the strongest shape ever, with the biggest budget surpluses, the biggest rainy-day reserves and the lowest debt in our history.

South Carolina is winning and we intend to keep winning. The best is yet to come!”

Statement sent to Queen City News from the Town of Rock Hill:

“The City of Rock Hill joined state and county leaders and the community at large in welcoming the Panthers to Rock Hill and shared the excitement of Mr. Tepper’s idea of ​​’two states , one team”. Over the past three years, City staff and local elected officials have spent countless hours negotiating agreements and working to execute the City’s part of the agreements to make this a successful development for the Panthers and the Rock Hill community.

We are disappointed with the current dispute and the Panthers’ decision to halt development of Rock Hill, undermining the comprehensive efforts of the City of Rock Hill, the State of South Carolina, York County, the schools of Rock Hill, major landowners and the whole region. Our intention was and remains to continue to negotiate in good faith while protecting the interests of our ratepayers. In fact, over the past few weeks, we’ve attempted to meet the Panthers several times, to no avail.

The City has complied with all of the obligations required under the agreements. The City has not committed to providing an unlimited safety net to the City, but rather has agreed to do its best to issue bonds which will be repaid by the increased tax revenue generated by the development of the site, which protects the City’s taxpayers and the City’s favorable financial situation. .

As stipulated in the parties’ financing agreement, the City was not obliged – to pledge, use or contribute any funds, income or assets of the City to the repayment of the Bonds beyond the proceeds of the Panthers Fund, reserve funds derived from the proceeds of the Bonds, as well as accrued interest, the if applicable, or [municipal improvement district (MID)] assessments imposed in accordance with MID guiding documents; and … the City’s reasonable best efforts to issue Bonds shall not be construed as an assurance or warranty by the City that there will be a purchaser for any of the Bonds.

As Mayor John Gettys said,

Our community embraced the Panthers and welcomed them to South Carolina. Rest assured that the Town of Rock Hill has done everything possible to make this project a success and has not failed in any of our obligations…this is not how we do business.

The City does not believe that it is necessary to settle, by a public back and forth, its disputes with another party. We are encouraged that the Panthers are now willing to meet and look forward to resolving any outstanding issues so that together we can deliver on the promises implicit in the “two states, one team” philosophy. From our point of view, we are ready to meet today. Accordingly, this will be the last public statement from the city regarding the Panthers’ most recent misleading and erroneous claims.

Statement sent to Queen City News from York County:

“It is disheartening to hear today that the Carolina Panthers have terminated their original agreements with the Town of Rock Hill. However, York County remains optimistic about the possibility of moving forward with This project. The Panthers have expressed their willingness to continue discussions with all parties involved and to meet the challenges ahead. York County expresses this same desire.

Statement to Queen City News from Senator Richard “Dick” Harpoolitilian:

“Well, you know, a guy doesn’t make $16 billion without being a self-centered, selfish narcissist, so I’m not surprised at all. It’s a, I’d say an ‘I told you so’ moment. , but the fact that he ripped off the state and put us in a position where we built an $80 million interchange to nowhere the people of York County and the City of York were disadvantaged and he’ll just walk away. I mean that’s what arrogant narcissists do. I have full confidence in Harry Lightsey III, who is running the Chamber of Commerce again, to not let this kind scam to happen again. Clearly, the Governor was taken in by Tepper and his Director of Commerce.


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