Mayor: Rock Hill will take ownership of failed Panthers practice facility

ROCK HILL, S.C. — The legal battle over the failed Carolina Panthers practice facility in Rock Hill has come to a close.

On Friday, a bankruptcy judge approved a restructuring plan and financial settlement. It involves David Tepper’s real estate company, the City of Rock Hill, York County and a number of contractors.

People are now asking what happens now. According to the mayor of Rock Hill, the city will get the title to that property. But he said it could take quite some time before there’s any decision on what to do with the site.

“We get the title to the property today,” Rock Hill Mayor John Gettys told Channel 9′s Tina Terry. “The City of Rock Hill is the only entity that will have an asset after all of this is done.”

The deal gives $60 million to contractors, $21 million to York County and about $20 million to Rock Hill. Mayor Gettys told Terry that $20 million is in the property the city has now taken ownership of.

“When the property is sold at some point in time, in sections or in total, that’s when we will get paid back for the infrastructure that we put in in the beginning that totaled $20 million,” Gettys said.

An attorney for Rock Hill has said the city will also have to pay up to $23 million as part of the deal. Terry asked Gettys about that.

“What we’re doing is getting the property, and then we take over the role of debtor of possession in bankruptcy court. And once we get that position of paying up to $23 million -- we haven’t figured out what that exact number is yet -- and once that number is determined, we’ll transfer those funds to GTRE (Tepper’s real estate company),” he said. “And then we will get rid of all of the paperwork and all of the tentacles of the deal so it will be owned outright, without anyone having any sort of say in anything going forward.”

He said the property has been appraised and is worth more than $37 million. But at this point, leaders are still in the process of deciding what to do with the site.

“That will be a long process,” he said. “It will depend on a lot of input from a lot of people, a lot of organizations.”

County leaders said the $21 million in tax dollars they get back will go where that money was intended initially -- to widen a stretch of Mount Gallant Road near the facility.

GTRE sent a statement saying, “From the outset, GTRE sought to ensure all legitimate claims were processed as fairly and quickly as possible and to achieve the project’s orderly and safe wind-down. We are pleased that the Court has approved our comprehensive plan of reorganization, which paves the way to resolve and satisfy GTRE’s creditor claims.”

(WATCH BELOW: Rock Hill votes to move funds to complete road from I-77 to canceled Panthers facility)