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Fort Worth Plans Big Moves to Rebrand Near Southside

Fort Worth business owners plan to promote the Near Southside area as a hub for artists and entrepreneurs.
October 16, 2020, 8am PDT | Lee Flannery | @leecflannery
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Fort Worth,Texas Oct.21, 2017 Food truck at the trendy area of South side also called the Magnolia area in Forth Worth,Texas.
W. Scott McGill

While arts and economic centers often naturally develop around a vibrant community, a nudge and encouragement from local stakeholders help to move the process along and encourage the right types of development. One such nudge prompted Mike Brennan, president of Near Southside Inc., to "study the need for two new developments: an enclave for artists and other creatives and a tech incubator to spur startups," reports Amanda McCoy.

Efforts to transform Near Southside into a center for research and development are moving more quickly than those to develop a community around the arts. Already, the iter8 Health Innovation Community flaunts a substantial medical research district. Now the area is being considered as a soon-to-be hub of entrepreneurial activity. 

A second hub dedicated to artists would include the construction of below market rate apartments. According to McCoy, "A coffee shop or small restaurant would anchor the development with one or two art-minded entities like a gallery or nonprofit. Public space, like an outdoor venue, would be crucial to create an atmosphere where artists and others can gather."

But this concept is still in the earliest stages of visioning. McCoy presses the point that in order to make these dreams a reality, Near Southside urgently needs more apartments below the market rate, some of which are currently in the works.

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Published on Tuesday, October 6, 2020 in Fort Worth Star-Telegram
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