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Updated Panther Island Strategic Vision Outlines a Generational Opportunity for Fort Worth

By March 5, 2024

In 2023, the Panther Island Steering Committee* — which includes public partners and civic stakeholders invested in the success of Panther Island— initiated an update of the adopted vision for Panther Island. National real estate and economic development expert HR&A Advisors, which has worked on waterfront redevelopment projects throughout the country, was selected to provide key analysis and consulting services to help guide the future of Panther Island. Architecture firm Lake Flato was a key member of their consulting team, guiding recommendations on the urban design framework.

On March 5, HR&A Advisors and Lake Flato presented key findings of the Panther Island Strategic Vision Update as well as the Panther Island Real Estate, Economic Development and Implementation Strategies. The update indicates that the Panther Island redevelopment project is a once-in-a-generation placemaking opportunity for Fort Worth and the region. The final
reports provide a roadmap for future decision-making, lay the groundwork for a market responsive and well-planned waterfront district, and foster sustainable development in the city’s core.

The original, nearly 20-year-old plan for Panther Island was approved by the Fort Worth City Council in 2004. Since then, Fort Worth has seen record growth, becoming the 13th largest and fastest growing large city in the U.S.

“Panther Island is a generational development to create economic and recreational opportunities for Fort Worth communities and support continued growth as the city welcomes new businesses, residents and visitors,” said Aaron Abelson, Managing Partner for Texas, HR&A Advisors. “Panther Island’s size, proximity to downtown, and the abundance of public land create a rare opportunity for government and private investment to work in tandem. HR&A is proud to play a role in this historic public-private partnership.”

Among other recommendations, HR&A’s updated strategic vision:
• Highlights a phased implementation strategy for near- and long-term development.
• Emphasizes adding to a connected open-space network featuring continuous waterfront
access.
• Encourages a seamless connection to surrounding neighborhoods.
• Recommends a governance structure for development on Panther Island.

The Panther Island Strategic Vision Update as well as the Panther Island Real Estate, Economic Development and Implementation Strategies offer recommendations to guide the design and implementation of public and private investments on Panther Island and suggest additional work to keep advancing momentum and collaboration.

“We are excited to receive the recommendations of HR&A that are informed by vital input from the community,” TRWD Board President Leah King said. “We look forward to further evaluating the HR&A recommendations and designing the right path forward that ensures Panther Island reaches its full potential for the benefit of Fort Worth, Tarrant County and all of North Texas.”

Over the past year, HR&A engaged and sought input from numerous local stakeholders, including landowners, community members from surrounding neighborhoods, real estate and civic organizations, and others. The guiding principles for the updated vision are grounded in the valuable feedback provided by the community:

• One-of-a-kind waterfront district nestled in the Trinity River.
• Haven of diverse parks, green spaces, and experiences around every corner
• Mixed-use neighborhood designed to build community
• Destination connecting and complementing vibrant surrounding neighborhoods
• Celebration of Fort Worth’s diverse communities and heritage
• Economic driver sustaining the rapid growth of Fort Worth

“When we talk about the future of development in Fort Worth, citywide and on Panther Island, it is vital to have stakeholder and community voices at the table guiding that direction,” Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker said. “I appreciate the leadership from our partner agencies and the feedback from residents and business owners throughout this process to work collaboratively to build out plans that reflect the future of Fort Worth.”

The new vision aligns with the City’s Economic Development Strategic Plan. It is grounded in high-quality development, an engaging public waterfront, a destination connecting and complementing vibrant surrounding neighborhoods, and place-making of the highest order. View the Panther Island Strategic Vision Update on pantherisland.com. A public meeting will be held in the coming weeks to provide further insight into the updated strategic vision.

* The Panther Island Steering Committee includes representatives from the City of Fort Worth, Tarrant Regional Water District, Tarrant County, Tarrant County College, Real Estate Council of Greater Fort Worth, Downtown Fort Worth Inc, and Streams & Valleys Inc.

Lake Current Level Conservation Level* Level Difference**
Arlington 549.37 550.00 -0.63
Benbrook 692.73 694.00 -1.27
Bridgeport 825.91 836.00 -10.09
Cedar Creek 321.78 322.00 -0.22
Eagle Mountain 646.98 649.10 -2.12
Lake Worth 591.84 594.00 -2.16
Richland-Chambers 315.32 315.00 0.32
*Conservation Level: The permitted level of water an entity is allowed to hold in a lake. Any amount above the conservation level is used for the temporary storage of flood waters and must be released downstream.
**Difference: Amount above or below conservation level.
For more information read our daily reports or the TRWD Lake Level Blog.

Check out the TRWD OneRain portal for a visualization of this information and more.

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