Carolina Panthers moving forward on Rock Hill training center

YORK COUNTY, S.C. — Grading has yet to begin at a secluded wooded area that the Carolina Panthers will someday call home.

A lot is happening behind the scenes, however, to push the massive development project forward.

Days ago, hundreds of neighbors in the Hutchison Place community got a letter from the family that owns the land, which is also the land they bought a piece of to build their homes.

The letter is an invitation to a community meeting on Oct. 17.

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The invitation details plans for development on 234 acres,  including a practice facility, offices,  sports and entertainment venues, hospitality, recreation and retail.

The letter calls the project “truly transformative."

The development’s description sounds great to longtime homeowner Steve Norton, though he does have concerns.

"I just hope it won't impact the neighborhood too much," said Norton, who's lived in Hutchison Place since 1986.  He said he likes the peace and quiet.

"You don't know what to expect, really. if people are gonna be walking through the yards," he said.

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Don Lanning has lived off Eden Terrace since the 1970s. Channel 9 first spoke with Lanning in March when the site of the Panthers training center was first announced.  He's still enthusiastic about the project.

"It's ‘all go’ for me. I'm under the impression that real estate around it is gonna go up, so that's a plus for me," Lanning said.

His only concern has been that his neighborhood might be annexed into Rock Hill along with the huge piece of land, which is to the south of him.

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"That land's laid there since God made heaven and earth -- nothing's ever been done with it and all of a sudden, they're gonna put it in the city limits. Politics -- ain't it great?" Lanning said.

Some businesses near the site are welcoming the Panthers.

A manager at a shop on Mount Gallant Road said the team has offered to buy the land where his fiberglass business is located outside of Manchester Village.

City planners told Channel 9 Wednesday there are no plans to annex the Hutchison Place neighborhood into the city.

The entire community is on well water and septic tank systems, and they don't receive city services.

Panthers owner David Tepper has been spotted touring the area on a golf cart, and the team has said publicly they want to break ground at the site by April.

Rezoning, annexation and land development agreements need to be approved to get to that point.

There are also some local tax incentives still on the table that York County leaders haven't taken a vote on yet, but that's expected soon, too.

Leaders in Rock Hill expect the Panthers will wait to sign on the dotted line until the needed changes are made.

As far as the plans for the city, the rezoning issue will go before the Rock Hill Planning Commission on Nov. 9.

The first City Council vote could be on Nov. 25.

If all goes as planned, the vote could have a final vote on Dec. 9.