Plans to add a new, $70 million development to the city are moving forward after city planners and the developer reached an agreement on a proposed Catawba River trail next door.
The Rock Hill City Council initially approved annexing the 32-acre site along the river beside the U.S. 21 bridge in April, before construction began on the new Riverside on the Catawba development, a mix of stores, restaurants and apartments that developers project will add hundreds of jobs to the newest portion of the city.
City planners raised several concerns about the effects of parking and traffic at the new development, but the issue that caused the City Council to postpone final approval of the plan was the design of a riverside walking trail and an access point on the Catawba River.
The planned trail will connect with the Riverwalk portion of the Carolina Thread Trail on the other side of Cherry Road by a connecting trail running under the U.S. 21 bridge, but walkers also will be able to get to the river from a sidewalk connector. The walkway will be handicapped accessible.
“The trail will be built by us, and the city will have an easement for public use,” said Jimmy Jurado, the chief financial officer for Premiere Design Solutions.
The 1,500-foot trail will run alongside several retail spaces in the new development. Tenants will be responsible for the day-to-day maintenance in front of their respective businesses, Jurado said, but long-term maintenance will be the responsibility of the city.
Premiere Design Solutions also will run an access road to the river through property owned by the Greens of Rock Hill. Planners told the council they won’t approve a certificate of occupancy for Riverside until the access road is installed.
Once completed, Riverside will include 150 condominiums, 150 apartments, a 130-room hotel, and 235,000 square feet of retail office space. Developers have said market conditions will likely result in apartments over a hotel or condos.
Two 75-unit, six-story apartment complexes would likely be the first phase of the project.
Plans would allow for between 1,084 and 1,281 parking spaces, about 20 percent less than the city would usually allow for a development of this size. Planners hope fewer spaces will be necessary because residents of the 300 planned apartments and condominiums will double as employees and patrons of the stores and restaurants.
The developer also says space is available for underground or structured parking to deal with any additional cars.
The worst-case traffic scenario is that the development would create 13,000 trips to per day, according to a traffic study prepared by Premiere Design Solutions. Plans call for a dedicated right-turn lane at the Spratt Street intersection and aligning Riverside Drive and Dunkins Ferry Road into one intersection. The developer has agreed to install the traffic signal if warranted by a Department of Transportation study.