Development phase begins for new Fort Worth entertainment district

The Stockyards isn't the only big development project becoming a reality in Fort Worth.

The city's future plans of making a river-walk, lakes and canals along with an entertainment district and condos and apartments are about to take some big steps forward, which could double Fort Worth’s downtown area. The new development will also come with a name change.

It would be bigger than San Antonio's river walk and would rival Austin's Town Lake. Newly-named Panther Island District would stretch 12 miles along the Trinity River, just north of downtown Fort Worth. By 2024, the development would double the size of the central part of the city.

But if you think it's a new idea, JD Granger with the Trinity River Vision Authority has been working on it for several years. With about $280 million in, Granger said now is when the fun part begins.

The entire project totals more than $900 million. The cost is split. Half of it will be paid for locally by the city, Tarrant County, the Tarrant Regional Water District and Public Subsidies. The other half will be paid federally by TXDOT and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The land has already been purchased, utilities moved, environment cleaned up and now building begins.

"Now we're going to the fun phase -- the development phase,” said Granger. “So over the last year, we've had lots of development interest. We've been talking through many different parcels."

Parcels include a sports complex, festival grounds, parks, canals, housing, office space and more.

To create the lake, developers will flood what people now know as the Panther Island Pavilion.

The Fort Worth city council voted unanimously on Tuesday to approve zoning regulations to keep the project moving forward.

“It is very much competitive to lure people here and keep them here," said Granger.

Construction for the development could begin in a month or two. After Tuesday’s vote, the area was officially renamed from the Trinity Uptown District to the Panther Island District, one of many changes to come over the next few years for the area.

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