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Consultants on major projects in NYC, DC & LA may shape Fort Worth’s Panther Island

January 8,2023

See full Fort Worth Star-Telegram article by Harrison Mantas here.

Another piece of the Panther Island puzzle could be unveiled Tuesday.

The Fort Worth City Council will vote on whether to hire HR&A Advisors to help the city and its partners figure out how to develop the future residential and entertainment district along the Trinity River.

If approved, the city would allocate up to $560,000 for consulting services, with up to $435,000 coming from the city’s partners. Those partners include Tarrant County, Tarrant Regional Water District, Tarrant County College, Downtown Fort Worth Inc., Streams and Valleys, and the Real Estate Council of Greater Fort Worth.

Total public and private investment in Panther Island, just north of downtown, could surpass $1 billion.

What’s now a largely industrial area between downtown and the Stockyards will become prime real estate when bypass channels are carved along the river to mitigate flood risks. The vision includes canals that could add to waterfront acreage for restaurants, bars, shopping and residential buildings. One of the first major private investments in the future district is Encore Panther Island apartments, which opened along North Main Street early this year.

The city put out a request for proposals for a real estate consultant in October, seeking a firm with experience in waterfront or special-case district development, real estate development, market analysis and public-private partnerships.

HR&A Advisors would advise the city and its partners on how to develop the island, including what to do with LaGrave Field, owned by the water district, and the historic power plant, owned by Tarrant County College. The firm has worked with real estate owners and investors, hospitals and universities, cultural institutions and philanthropies, community development organizations and governments, according to its website.

HR&A serves public and private clients through offices in New York, Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles, Washington DC and Raleigh, North Carolina.

Projects in its portfolio include Washington’s Anacostia River waterfront; a master plan for Philadelphia’s Delaware River Waterfront and Penn Landing; the revitalization of Toronto’s waterfront; New York’s Brooklyn Bridge Park; and economic studies for Dallas parks.

The firm started in 1976 and has “guided hundreds of clients in transforming real estate and economic development concepts, and public infrastructure, first into actionable plans then into job-producing, community-strengthening assets.”

The City Council will vote on the contract at its regular Tuesday meeting at 6 p.m. in City Hall.

The move comes almost a year after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers allocated $403 million toward building the Trinity River channels. Congress approved $526 million in 2016, but disagreements with the Trump administration over the project’s feasibility held up funding.

Locations Mentioned: Panther Island Pavilion, Tarrant County College- Trinity River Campus