York County passes incentive package for Panthers practice facility

ROCK HILL, S.C. — The York County Council voted 4-3 Monday night on its final reading for the Panthers incentives package making it official the team will build a practice facility and move offices to Rock Hill.

South Carolina offered about $115 million in incentives to get the Panthers to move their practices and team headquarters from North Carolina. The team will continue to play its games 15 miles to the north in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The state will exempt the Panthers from paying state income taxes for players, coaches and other employees for 15 years as long as they use the money to build their new complex near Rock Hill.

The Carolina Panthers spent more than $16 million to buy the land for its new practice facility in South Carolina, according to property records.

The NFL team wrapped up the deal to buy 240 acres near Interstate 77 in Rock Hill on March 27, according to the York County records obtained by local news outlets.

The company representing the Panthers, GT Real Estate Holdings, also bought the Waterford Golf Club on March 13.

The site is not currently in Rock Hill, but the city plans to annex it soon. Local officials want to build hotels, restaurants and other businesses around the practice facility to create an entertainment complex.

York County plans to assess the facility at a 4% property tax rate instead of 6% and have the team pay it as a fee instead of taxes. The majority of the fees would be used for development around the site.

Panthers COO Mark Hart told economic development leaders at a retreat in Rock Hill last year that the facility should open in 2022 and he expects players and coaches to move nearby.

“We wanted to make sure that it not only just serves our development but it serves the City of Rock Hill and York County and really connects all parts of the community to this great, transformational project,” Hart said.