Panthers company ‘soliciting pitches,’ seeking to set value for failed Rock Hill site

Jeff Siner/jsiner@charlotteobserver.com
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The real estate company created by the Carolina Panthers owner to build the team’s practice site in Rock Hill is reaching out to experts about the property’s value, and looking at alternatives for its use, even as the real estate company goes through bankruptcy, court documents show.

At least two real estate investors have reached out to GT Real Estate Holdings about the property in York County, South Carolina, that was once hailed as the team’s new headquarters. That project came to a halt in a dispute over financing earlier this year, even though construction had already started, according to federal bankruptcy court records.

The document was filed Sunday in federal bankruptcy court by Jonathan Hickman, chief restructuring officer for GT Real Estate Holdings.

GT Real Estate Holdings is the company that Panthers owner David Tepper established specifically to be the owner and developer of the Rock Hill property off Mount Gallant Road in Rock Hill, which was to become the Panthers’ headquarters and practice facility.

“The Debtor has shared NDAs with two mixed-use real estate investors that have inquired about the status of the project and the Debtor is soliciting pitches from real estate valuation and other advisory firms with expertise that will be critical to evaluating how to maximize the value of the Project site,” the filing stated.

The real estate investors were not named and appear to be subject to non-disclosure agreements, the filing stated..

Hickman stated in the court affidavit declaration that GT Real Estate is considering alternatives that include a possible redevelopment of the site by a third-party, selling the company’s assets, or liquidating the assets.

“While the Chapter 11 Case is less than four weeks old, the Debtor has begun to consider various alternatives for a value-maximizing transaction, including a potential sale of all or substantially all of the Debtor’s assets (whether through a section 363 process or through a plan of reorganization); the redevelopment of the Project site into something else funded by a third-party, with potential assistance and financing provided by parties already involved in the Project like the City, the County, or MBM; or a well-financed, orderly, value-maximizing liquidation process.,” the filing stated.

The city in the documents is Rock Hill, the county is York, and MBM is Mascaro/Barton Malow, which was the the project construction management company and general contractor in a joint venture, court records show.

The 240-acre project was supposed to include mixed-use retail, offices and several other land uses. A new interchange is being built on Interstate 77 near the site.

But all that changed when GT Real Estate suspended construction, then terminated agreements with Rock Hill and York County before filing for bankruptcy on June 2.

GT Real Estate, called the debtor in bankruptcy filings, is a company created by its parent, DT Sports Holding LLC, according to the court documents.

The filings are part of the ongoing bankruptcy case in federal court in Delaware, documents show.

In an earlier bankruptcy hearing on June 6, a GT Real Estate lawyer said as of March when construction was stopped, the Panthers had funded about $163.5 million of loans to GT Real Estate. The city had contributed $20 million and the county $21 million.

A federal bankruptcy judge still must approve a final agreement about the property and debts, bankruptcy court documents show. It remains unclear when that ruling will happen.

The city of Rock Hill and York County have filed objections to the proposed bankruptcy plan that GT Real Estate has asked for, filings by lawyers for the county and city show.

York County has filed the separate lawsuit in state court in South Carolina against Tepper Sports Holding and the city of Rock Hill in an attempt to recoup the $21 million the county claims it is owed.