An artist’s rendering of the Panther Island development north of downtown Fort Worth.
An artist’s rendering of the Panther Island development north of downtown Fort Worth.

Fort Worth

Amazon in downtown Fort Worth? Here’s where city leaders would like to see it

By Andrea Ahles

aahles@star-telegram.com

September 27, 2017 12:51 PM

UPDATED September 27, 2017 07:06 PM

FORT WORTH

The city’s Panther Island development may be part of the North Texas bid to snag a second headquarters campus for Amazon.

The possible site was revealed at a City Council meeting Tuesday night when Fort Worth Transportation Authority board member Jeff Davis mentioned the downtown project as a great location for the online retailer.

“We have the best location in the world for Amazon on Panther Island,” Davis said, before noting that the council’s decision to not devote property tax revenue to expand bus service could hurt Fort Worth’s chances. Amazon has listed public transit among its site criteria.

“If Fort Worth can’t get a quorum or even have a conversation about building a mass transit system, what message does that send, not just to Amazon but to all of the other businesses seeking to relocate?” Davis asked the council.

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Panther Island, the name for the big development envisioned on the north side of the Trinity River once a bypass channel is added, is one of the few Fort Worth locations with enough space to accommodate Amazon’s needs. The new island would include a town lake and encompass 800 acres. Construction on bridges that will eventually cross the new river channel is underway.

Seaattle-based Amazon set off a nationwide bidding war earlier this month when it announced that it’s looking for a 100-acre site with 500,000 square feet of office space and room for growth. It expects to invest up to $5 billion in the new campus which would employ as many as 50,000 people. And tax incentives will be needed to win over the company.

In Fort Worth, city and chamber officials have approached the Trinity River Vision Authority to put together an offer for Amazon, detailing which parcels of land are available at the Panther Island site and where the company could potentially expand, said J.D. Granger, the authority’s executive director.

“Amazon is the perfect fit for Panther Island,” Granger said. “We are looking for a young, aggressive-type model, and they are a perfect fit for what is being created down there.”

While DFW competes for new Amazon headquarters, take a look inside one of its fulfillment centers

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Amazon

The Dallas Regional Chamber of Commerce is working with the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce to put together a regional bid to represent the area’s best potential sites. Amazon has asked local governments to submit one proposal per metropolitan area by Oct. 19.

Many other area cities are jumping into the race.

In Dallas, Trinity Groves announced earlier this week that it has partnered with real estate developer KDC and architect Gensler to submit a proposal. The Trinity Groves development is located at the base of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge and has over 80 acres available.

“Trinity Groves offers the ability for Amazon to start building now on an unparalleled site in a city that would be thrilled to have them here. Amazon asked for and is prioritizing ‘certified or shovel-ready infill opportunities’ and Trinity Groves checks those boxes and more,” Jim Reynolds, development partner for Trinity Groves, said in a CBS 11 report.

Frisco has put together a video showing off the benefits of locating near the Dallas Cowboys’ Star in Frisco headquarters, FC Dallas and Jamba Juice’s headquarters.

“Frisco is primed to have you,” Mayor Jeff Cheney says in a two-minute video made specifically to woo Amazon.

Denton officials are also preparing information for a potential bid and have launched a social media campaign encouraging residents to share what they love about the city with Amazon.

“We don’t have to scurry about trying to look cool for Amazon. It’s who we are already,” Kim Phillips, vice president of the Denton Convention & Visitors Bureau, wrote in a blog post. “We complete the DFW bid’s relevance to the desired Amazon community lifestyle.”

Staff writer Sandra Baker contributed to this report.

Andrea Ahles: 817-390-7631, @andreaahles