The National Football League’s Carolina Panthers operation has apparently abandoned its planned $800-million headquarters and practice facility project in Rock Hill, S.C., following a bankruptcy filing by the team owner’s real estate representative.
GT Real Estate Holdings, LLC (GTRE), a Delaware limited liability company established by Panthers’ owner David Tepper to oversee the project, announced June 1 it had begun a court-led financial restructuring process “to achieve the project's orderly and safe wind-down” and “ensure legitimate claims are processed as fairly and expeditiously as possible.” GTRE also expressed its intention “to resolve its legitimate obligations.”
The real estate firm had reportedly invested $170 million in the project when it halted construction activity in March in a dispute with Rock Hill officials over the city’s purported failure to follow through on a commitment to fund $225 million worth of infrastructure at the 234-acre site. City officials countered at the time that the team had not provided sufficient information to move forward with a planned bond sale without putting municipal finances at risk.
GTRE subsequently terminated its agreement with Rock Hill, although the company reportedly expressed a willingness to renegotiate the financial arrangements.
Among creditors listed in the filing is the construction manager at-risk joint venture of Mascaro Construction and Barton Malow, with a $26-million claim against GTRE. Company representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the bankruptcy filing or the status of the project, which broke ground in July 2020.
In addition to the centerpiece five-story, 600,000-sq-ft indoor practice facility, which was scheduled to be completed next year, the development plan called for a mix of hospitality, residential, office, entertainment, dining and retail space totaling more than 3.9 million sq ft.
Other major creditors listed in the bankruptcy filing include York County, S.C., which contributed $21 million toward upgrading a road adjacent to the project. County officials said in a statement that they expect to receive return of the full investment with interest.
“We were prepared for this action,” the county’s statement added.
Meanwhile, a new state-funded interchange on Interstate 77 intended to serve the Panthers site and adjacent areas appears unaffected by GTRE’s bankruptcy filing.
Officials of the South Carolina Dept. of Transportation have stated that the $48-million design-build project, currently under construction by a joint venture of United Infrastructure Group and Blythe Development Co., would proceed regardless of the Panthers project outcome. The interchange is scheduled to be completed in May 2023.