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Panthers end training facility deal with Rock Hill

The Associated Press

ROCK HILL — The real estate company of Panthers owner David Tepper announced on Tuesday that it has terminated its agreement with the city of Rock Hill, leaving the future of the planned $800 million headquarters and training facilities dollars from the NFL team in the air.

The news comes after the Panthers announced last month that they were suspending construction on the project after failing to receive bonds from the city of Rock Hill to pay for public infrastructure.

Tepper has invested more than $175 million in the state-of-the-art facility, located approximately 25 miles south of the team’s current stadium and headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina.

A spokesperson for Tepper’s GT Real Estate Holdings said in a statement to The Associated Press that the Panthers were prepared to sit down with Rock Hill town officials and other interested parties to “discuss the challenges important to come”.

The release said the City of Rock Hill did not issue the bonds or provide the public infrastructure financing for the project as of early 2021. Tepper’s company said it negotiated with the city for more than a year. , notifying them in March that they had 30 days. or the Panthers would retreat.

“It is regrettable that some have recently decided to wage a misguided and destructive public relations campaign to cover up their failures,” the Tepper company statement read.

Rock Hill officials responded to the announcement on Tuesday, calling the Panthers’ announcement “misleading and misleading” and saying they had embraced the Panthers, hosted their headquarters in South Carolina and “done everything to make this project a success and have not defaulted on any of our obligations.”

“Our intention was and remains to continue to negotiate in good faith while protecting the interests of our ratepayers,” the City of Rock Hill said in a statement to The Associated Press. “In fact, over the past few weeks we have attempted to meet the Panthers on several occasions, to no avail.”

The city said it had fulfilled all required obligations under the agreement, but could not provide the Panthers with unlimited resources and needed to protect its ratepayers.

The Panthers headquarters and training center were scheduled to be completed in 2023.

If completed, the Panthers would do business in Rock Hill and hold practices and training camp at the new facility. The Panthers would continue to play games at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.

South Carolina has long-standing ties to the Panthers. The team held its summer training camp at Wofford College in Spartanburg and played its first season in 1995 at Clemson University while Bank of America Stadium was being built.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster called the Panthers’ announcement a “disappointment” in a statement to The Associated Press on Tuesday.

“We had hoped they would be part of South Carolina’s record-breaking and booming economy,” McMaster said in the statement Tuesday.

South Carolina lawmakers in 2019 approved a bill giving the Panthers more than $100 million in tax breaks once the team’s headquarters open. The team would have been exempt from paying state income tax for players, coaches and other employees for 15 years. The tax breaks will no longer apply if Tepper does not build in the state.

Opponents of the deal have questioned whether the state should help the NFL’s wealthiest owner. Tepper is a hedge fund manager worth around $11 billion.