Carolina Panthers pauses construction on $800 million practice facility over infrastructure funding problems

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Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper has paused construction on the team’s $800 million practice facility in Rock Hill, SC due to concerns over a lack of funding from the city needed for the project’s infrastructure, The Associated Press (AP) has reported.

A spokesperson for Tepper Sports and Entertainment said in a March 7 statement that Tepper has already invested $170 million in the project.

Contractors Mascaro and Barton Malow were managing construction in a joint venture. Sports architecture firm Populous based in Kansas City designed the headquarters.

“Our partners have been unable to contribute the agreed upon investment to fund the construction of the public infrastructure,” the statement read. “Given the economic realities, the difficult but prudent decision has been made to pause the project. The ongoing work will continue with our partners to find an economically acceptable solution for all parties to continue this project in Rock Hill.”

Originally, the 240-acre practice facility had been scheduled to open in 2023.

The project includes three natural grass outdoor practice fields, a 100,000-sq. ft. indoor practice center with a regulation-sized NFL field; and an outdoor, 5,000-seat multi-purpose stadium to be used for concerts, corporate and community events; and amateur sports.

Mark Hart, the Panthers chief operating officer, sent a letter last May to York County manager David Hudspeth asking for help after the city of Rock Hill failed to secure infrastructure bonds, AP reported.

“Until we have a path to the $225,000,000 in bonds proceeds there is a high risk necessary infrastructure objectives will not be met,” Hart wrote at the time.

The bonds were to be issued Oct. 31, 2020, but the deadline was later pushed back to Feb. 26, 2021. However, more than a year the bonds have still not been secured.

The public infrastructure includes roads, sewage, water and power to the project.

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