The City of Rock Hill has designated the former industrial mill area lying between the Winthrop University campus and the historic downtown as the Textile Corridor.
Approximately 250 acres in size, this area was formerly characterized by abandoned textile mill properties and remnant mill village neighborhoods. The largest mill property, formerly the Rock Hill Printing and Finishing Company (locally known as “The Bleachery”) is approximately 24 acres in size and is currently under demolition. Another mill, the Rock Hill Cotton Factory, lying at the southern end of the corridor adjacent to downtown, is the oldest textile mill in the City. Also included are private residences, small businesses, the Laurelwood Cemetery, and a portion of the beautiful Winthrop University campus.
In 2003, a community-wide collaborative Textile Corridor Master Plan (TCMP) was developed and adopted by City Council setting for a vision for redevelopment as pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use urban village. Since that time, the vision of the TCMP has into the implementation phase. The historic restoration of the 100,000 square-foot Rock Hill Cotton Factory in 2007 represented the first major step towards the redevelopment vision. That project alone has brought over 300 jobs into the Textile Corridor.
Other key developments in the Textile Corridor are The Courtyard at Winthrop (student housing), University Place Apartments, and the 2009 renovation of the former Bleachery workers’ Union Hall building by Start Marketing witch has brought 70 new jobs to the area.
In addition, Family Trust Credit Union has committed to its intention to construct a new corporate building at its current location in the Textile Corridor, at the corner of White Street and Laurel Street. The specific size and functions for the new building are currently being studied as part of a corporate “needs analysis.” The non-profit organization was founded to serve the financial needs of employees of the Bleachery. With this move, Family Trust returns again to its community roots and positions itself to further drive the revitalization effort.
Most recently in 2010, the City entered into an agreement with the owner of the largest mill site in the Textile Corridor, the Bleachery, to demolish the dilapidated structures and sell the property to the City. With demolition now complete, pre-development actions are moving forward quickly. One early opportunity will involve the Lowenstein Building that remains on the site. With over 150,000 square feet available, this building will easily accommodate companies with hundreds of workers.
To further catalyze redevelopment of the Textile Corridor, the city has undertaken a study to determine the feasibility of building and operating a streetcar line to connect the downtown and the campus. That effort continues today.
Future Business Opportunities in the Textile Corridor
This area’s unique and advantageous location, adjacent to both the downtown and the Winthrop University campus, will continue to draw the interest of investors and developers who share the redevelopment vision Potential development sites are in the process of being assembled, ranging in size from 2 to 24 acres.
Examples of possible future development sites in the Textile Corridor Business Center include:
The Lowenstein Building, and other sites and structures on the former Bleachery site
Springs Creative Distribution Center
Properties along White Street between the Cotton Factory and North Wilson Street
City Annex property (White and Lee Streets)
Peachtree Street/White Street block
Freedom Temple owned properties at white Street and Steward Avenue
Various privately owned properties along Constitution Blvd (between West Main and Columbia Avenue)
Streetcar route properties (along Black-Main-White Streets)