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Will Panther Island ever be complete? See the project’s behind-the-scenes progress

With new funding and contracts, learn more about the 2023 milestones for the Panther Island project with our interactive timeline.

FTW-panther-island-sketch-aerial

Some say the Panther Island project will be like San Antonio’s Riverwalk on the north side of town.

Image courtesy of TRWD

Table of Contents

Earlier this month, the Tarrant Regional Water District (TRWD) proposed $116.4 million in its 2024 budget + Austin developer Seco Ventures purchased 26 acres for the Panther Island project.

With funding, contracts, and new milestones, a lot has happened this year behind the scenes of Fort Worth’s 800-acre waterfront district. Check out our interactive timeline and keep reading for updates on the comprehensive plan and the corresponding Central City Flood Control Project.

New year, new team

In January, the combined development team — made up of the City of Fort Worth, Tarrant County, TRWD, TCC, Real Estate Council of Greater Fort Worth, Downtown Fort Worth Inc., and Streams & Valleys — hired HR&A Advisors to analyze and consult on the project for $560,000.

HR&A will serve as the project manager and lead the real estate and economic development strategies. The rest of the consulting team includes civil engineer Salcedo Group Inc., urban planner and designer Lake Flato, and community engagement specialist K Strategies.

CDM-Stanley Joint Venture was contracted in May to complete the design of the north bypass channel + contracted yesterday for the design of the south bypass channel.

Federal funding February

In February, the US Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) received $20 million in federal funds to continue designing the project. The funds will support:

  • Initial design of gates and pump station
  • Completed designs of bypass channel and three valley storage sites
  • Construction of the interior portion of the channel, storage sites, and aquatic mitigation

As of June 2023, the project still needed about $98 million from the federal government to complete the channel.

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The full project includes both the Central City Flood Control infrastructure plan (left) and the Panther Island mixed-use development district (right).

Maps courtesy of TRWD

Ongoing work

Currently, the city is working to relocate water and sewer utilities on the Northside in order to make way for future construction. The work must be completed by next summer on the north channel and fall of 2024 on the south channel to keep the project on schedule. Of the TRWD’s 2024 budget allocation, $88 million will go to paying back the city for this work.

Looking ahead

The USACE could begin digging the 1.5-mile north bypass channel that will form the island as early as the end of next year. The channel will cut across the Upstream peninsula, rerouting the Clear Fork and West Fork of the Trinity River underneath three bridges that were constructed in 2021.

Preliminary findings

HR&A Advisors — the consulting firm hired by the city for the development of Panther Island — released preliminary findings last week for how the first phase of the project might come together.

Citing the city’s growing population, planners are moving away from the residential-focused plans and instead envision a vibrant entertainment hub with both residential and outdoor recreation that attracts talent and companies to Fort Worth.

Here are the key takeaways:

  • Connect the island with high-capacity transit to surrounding neighborhoods like downtown, Historic Southside, and the Northside
  • Develop a unified strategy for 500+ acres of public and privately owned land
  • Avoid displacing surrounding communities like the Historic Northside
  • Incorporate a diverse range of uses including waterfront development, retail, dining, office space, and entertainment venues
  • Redevelop historic sites like LaGrave Field and the Power Plant building

HR&A Advisors, along with other groups and community stakeholders, will work on updating the strategic vision for the project + create comprehensive real estate and economic development strategies for future development.