Fort Worth

Developer buys land for first apartments at Fort Worth’s Panther Island

Rendering of the planned 300-unit apartment project proposed by Encore Enterprises at Panther Island.
Rendering of the planned 300-unit apartment project proposed by Encore Enterprises at Panther Island. Encore Enterprises

A Dallas company has bought nearly 2.5 acres on what will be Panther Island for a 300-unit apartment community, marking the first private development planned for the $909 million Trinity River Vision project north of downtown Fort Worth.


The planned $55 million residential community, called Encore Panther Island, will be situated along the first segment of canal that will run through the interior of the island, at Fourth and Main Streets, just north of the old TXU power plant and south of Panther Island Brewing.

Encore Multi-Family Llc., a division of the Dallas-based Encore Enterprises real estate development firm, said a portion of the canal will accommodate a water taxi stop as well as places for kayaks, canoes and standup paddle boards to launch. Some apartments will feature waterfront balconies. Construction is expected to begin in the summer of 2017 and be completed a year later, the developer said.

“We carefully studied the Riverwalk in San Antonio and worked closely with the Trinity River Vision Authority Design Committee to combine the organic feel beloved in San Antonio with Fort Worth’s distinct culture to create a one-of- a-kind living experience,” said Bradley Miller, president of Encore Multi-Family, in a statement. “We have designed community spaces along the Riverwalk to give our residents a true outdoor living room experience that will promote the active outdoor lifestyle that’s central to Panther Island.”

J.D. Granger, executive director of the Trinity River Vision Authority, called Encore’s project magnificent and its design inspiring.

Encore Panther Island “is exactly what Fort Worth has been wanting to see,” Granger said in a statement. “The section of riverwalk that winds through the middle of Encore’s project will connect beautifully to Fort Worth’s most progressive mixed-use high-density district and is a great snapshot of our future.”

The land was initially bought by the Tarrant Regional Water District for the canal system that’s part of the flood control portion of the Trinity River Vision project. The land, sold for about $2.3 million to Encore, is surplus property created following the canal system design, the water district said.

The 233,198-square-foot community will feature “creative solutions to connect the streetscape to the Riverwalk environment planned for the district,” Encore said. Amenities will include an infinity pool with cascading waterfalls, a fitness facility and a top floor lounge with views of downtown.

“As the first development within the district, we have carefully designed our project to fully integrate into this special high-density mixed-use district,” said Bharat Sangani, Encore Enterprises chairman, in a statement. “We are dedicated to creating a special pedestrian-focused experience that allows our residents to walk out their front door and walk along the canal to enjoy the boardwalk along Fort Worth’s future town lake.”

Encore Panther Island will consist of 32 efficiencies, 199 one-bedroom and 69 two-bedroom units, ranging in size from 555 square feet to 1,321 square feet. Rents will range from $975 to $2,500 a month, Encore said.

“We are excited to be the first of many projects on Panther Island,” Miller said. “It very much reminds me of the Harbor Island project in Tampa, which is situated across the bridge from downtown Tampa and now fully developed with mixed-use. I see many similarities between Panther Island and Harbor Island and believe the project will sustain similar success.”

More than 10,000 residences are planned for the Panther Island District, which will feature 12 miles of urban waterfront.

Encore Multi-Family, which owns and operates its developments, was founded in 2008. It has 16 multifamily developments in several states. Locally, it owns Encore Alsbury in Burleson, Encore 6162 and Encore Swiss Avenue, both in Dallas.

Encore Enterprises, which has done $1.9 billion in real estate transactions, also has retail, hotel and office developments, according to its website.

Locally, those include the 20-acre Marketplace at Craig Ranch in McKinney, multitenant office towers at 5005 LBJ Freeway and Two Forest Plaza in Dallas, The Tower at Frisco Square in Frisco, and the Fairfield Inn & Suites north of Dallas-Fort Worth Airport in Grapevine.

Once called Trinity Uptown, the Trinity River Vision project, planned to include thousands of residences and businesses, a town lake and river bypass channel, was conceptualized in the early 2000s and received Army Corp of Engineers approval by about 2004. The project includes the construction of three bridges at Henderson, North Main and White Settlement. Those are to be completed in 2018.

Despite meeting some opposition from lawmakers who said they viewed the project as a boondoggle, the project earlier this month received key support in Congress when it authorized the funding of up to $526 million for the project. The project was included as part of a $5 billion water projects authorization bills for the Army Corp of Engineers. The Trinity River Vision project is expected to get final Congressional funding later this year.

The remainder of the funding comes from Fort Worth, Tarrant County and a tax increment finance district established for the project’s area.

This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.