ROCK HILL, S.C. (CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL)

A huge S.C. credit union plans to buy the Rock Hill Schools administration building in a deal that could bring the first new resident of University Center.

Founders Federal Credit Union has a $2.7 million deal to buy the schools’ district office on North Anderson Road to create a technology and member services center in Rock Hill, says CEO Bruce Brumfield.

Nicki Nash, chief marketing officer for Founders, told The Herald newspaper in Rock Hill that the proposed center would also relieve crowding in the credit union’s headquarters building in Lancaster. In Rock Hill, Founders may also be able to attract employees with the technical skills needed to operate the center.

“We want to attract those with a specific skill set toward technology and member service,” Nash says.

Founders didn’t disclose how many employees would staff the center or a timetable to opening the site under credit union ownership.

South Carolina’s largest credit union, Founders has close to $2 billion in assets and operates 27 offices in Upstate South Carolina and Charlotte.

Administrators at Rock Hill Schools are considering relocating to the Lowenstein building in University Center, formerly referred to as the textile corridor or the Bleachery project in Rock Hill.

If the school system picks the University Center option, it would be the first tenant for the $230 million mixed-use development that hopes to combine college, athletics, office, retail and other uses on the site of the former Rock Hill Printing & Finishing plant.

Tim Elliot, developer Skip Tuttle and others are working to renovate the 1954 Lowenstein building as a first step in a master plan to redevelop the University Center site.

Developers have said they have lots of interest in a refurbished Lowenstein building but no one has committed.

Eventually, University Center expects to bring 1,000 jobs to the site as Rock Hill works to connect Old Town to Winthrop University in a development that would also include student housing, city functions and athletic facilities.

University Center is a part of a two-part plan to both redevelop the 23-acre former Bleachery site and attract technology-based jobs to a larger downtown site called Knowledge Park.

However, Rock Hill Schools administrators have other sites they are considering for a new school board administration building. Others include new construction next to the Central Child Development Center, also in Old Town Rock Hill, and renovating a gymnasium at the school district’s Flexible Learning Center off Flint Street, near downtown.