Panther City District's first place-making mural is a sign of the neighborhood's change.
The Coeval Studio design wall of greenery inside Agency Habitat a part of Panther City District.
Fort Brewery's lively mural lining its covered patio space is a part of the newly named Panther City District. Photo by Courtney Dabney.
Fort Worth has been expanding in all directions in recent years. Much of the growth has been brought to older areas of the city that were formerly forgotten. Even warehouse districts butted up next to thriving neighborhoods with easy access to new amenities. A few of these Cinderella stories include Magnolia Avenue, The River District, Crockett Row and the Foundry District.
All these new developments found a following and marketed their new offerings. But first these districts needed a name to define them.
When PaperCity Fort Worth reported the news of Fort Brewery’s new digs and Agency Habitat’s move into a new headquarters, with both companies investing in the up-and-coming strip across White Settlement Road from the Foundry District, my first question was: “So what are they calling this area?”
Now, a new official name has been revealed for the area, which is still largely industrial, automotive and aging Fort Worth ISD real estate. Say hello to Panther City District. It even has its own website already.
Embracing the urbanity of this new district’s commercial and industrial nature, Panther City’s website touts: “Welcome to the most industrious neighborhoods in Fort Worth.”
In many ways, the name is all about sinking your teeth, and in this case, claws into the Fort Worth panther legend. It dates back to a time when Fort Worth’s city streets were allegedly so lazy that a panther was once spotted sleeping in the middle of the road. Hence, Fort Worth’s Panther City nickname.
While panthers don’t roar (they growl), the idea is that Panther City District is up-and-coming and the long lazy area is now awake to development.
The new district has easy access to downtown thanks to the long awaited and newly opened White Settlement Bridge.
With Fort Brewery owners Will Churchill and his sister Corrie Watson having had such a major impact on the success and some would say the gentrification of Magnolia Avenue, and with Agency Habitat’s multi-media prowess, now that the official name has been chosen it figures to get a lot of play.
“First things first, when you say Panther City District we want people to know where it is,” says Will Churchill, who is also a member of the Panther City District board. “From there, they begin to understand the culture of the district and the desire to be part of it.”
Other new district board members include H\FW Capital Partners’ Robert Lydick, Will James of Defender Outdoors, Bryan Barrett of Keystone Group and Agency Habitat CEO Neil Foster. A membership drive is now underway with the aim of adding members and capital for improvements in the newly minted Panther City District. The goal is also to provide marketing help for member businesses.
“We not only want to increase awareness of this often overlooked area, but more important, create a greater sense of community,” Foster says. “Since we’re all invested in and passionate about our neighborhood, one of our main goals is to bring business owners together and raise the tide for everyone.”