ROCK HILL, S.C. — A county in South Carolina approved a deal loaded with tax breaks for the Carolina Panthers to move their headquarters and practice site.
The York County Council approved the deal in a 4-3 vote after listening to public comments during their virtual meeting on Monday, news outlets reported. It follows a series of moves the state has made to attract the team’s headquarters. The team will continue to play its games in Charlotte.
The approved deal will give the Panthers relief from all property taxes in the City of Rock Hill for 20 to 25 years, according to the York County Council.
The team would pay lower-rate fees, instead of property taxes, and they’ll be redirected to pay for infrastructure at the site, the Herald of Rock Hill reported. The city would put all the revenue it would get from the team’s fees to support the development, while the school district would return 75% and the county 65% for public infrastructure.
“We’re creating a foundation for tremendous growth,” York County Councilman Britt Blackwell said during the meeting. City Councilman William Roddey added that the hotels, restaurants and other attractions that could be built near the new headquarters will make Rock Hill and York County “a destination” for visitors.
Not everyone agreed with that analysis. Most of the public comments in the meeting wanted the approval to be pushed back, and they wanted a reassessment of the more than 200 acres of land the team will use for their site.
“The majority of the people don’t understand the concept of this development, and what this is going to bring to the area,” Billy Dunlap, president of Visit York County, told the Herald of Rock Hill. “With everything that Rock Hill and York County has now from a tourism and economic development status, they’ve never seen anything like this.”
Panthers COO Mark Hart said the team’s relocation would bring athletic partnerships with local schools and other attractions to the area.