Dear El Cardinale’,

I read your articles about David Tepper moving the Carolina Panthers’ HQ and training facility (I agree, what is he thinking?). You said you can think of some better places for the team. Well, what are they?

– Keep our Cats Close

Dear Keepin’ Cats,

Off the top of my head, I can think of a handful of far better sites.

To start, look at Charlotte Pipe and Foundry’s Uptown site, which includes 55 acres just a few blocks from where the Carolina Panthers play. The company is reportedly considering a move to Stanly County or York County.

Or what about in the LangTree Lake Norman area? For those who don’t mind paying tolls, the site would be a phenomenal one. It’s on the lake, there’s excellent interchange access already built, and the site would be close to Davidson and the burgeoning northern Charlotte/Lake Norman markets. I’m sure the players would love to own houses on Lake Norman.

And there’s perhaps my favorite site – the former Bowater Seed Farm. I assembled this 1,900-acre site working on behalf of Newland Communities. It was recently sold to York County. The Panther’s development would be the catalyst for the much-needed extension of Dave Lyle Blvd. across the Catawba River and over to 521. This would provide easy access to Ballantyne from Interstate 77. Also, this is the most amazing undeveloped land in the Charlotte MSA. It has 3 ½ miles of river frontage, lakes, wildlife and all of it is only a couple of miles from the heart of Rock Hill.

And if Tepper really has to be in South Carolina, there’s the site off Gold Hill Road, Highway 460 and Interstate 77. This is near where the Knights used to play. It’s not as far south as the Rock Hill location being discussed in the media and is a full 20 minutes closer to Uptown. Cato has a headquarters there and there’s a new elementary school being built. And it is very close to Carowinds!

These sites are all not as remote, they are closer to stronger demographics, and they simply make for a better development story.

But I’m not blind to the overall vision Tepper has. And you have to assume his site includes a new interchange, which would make access to the site far better. It would provide a far nicer entrance into downtown Rock Hill than Cherry Road does with its gas stations and fast food restaurants.

Also, Winthrop College is beautiful and this would create a nice entrance to the school.

I’m familiar with the properties I’ve mentioned. I evaluated the Gold Hill acreage for industrial development, and decided access was too challenging for that project. When I was working with Tanger Outlet Center, the retailer picked the LangTree site as it’s No. 2 choice for its outlet mall.

And adjacent to the Charlotte Pipe and Foundry site is the former home of the old wood distribution site. When it burned down (I believe it was around the 1970s), it was the hottest fire in state history. That property also became in 1992 my first ever listing.

Site location is an important yet often tricky and complicated decision. If I can put my experience to work for you, let me know.

Mr. Tepper – are you listening? 😉