After 18 months of construction, Sundance Square, a 35-block office, retail and entertainment development in downtown Fort Worth, recently opened a one-acre outdoor plaza featuring two new Class A office buildings, several new restaurants, retail shops, a multi-purpose stage, and pavilion. Sundance Square developer Ed Bass, Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, and Sundance Square president and CEO Johnny Campbell officially opened the plaza November 1 during a public ceremony.
“The addition of the plaza marks another milestone that has long been a part of the vision for Sundance Square,” said Ed Bass, Sundance Square’s developer. “The plaza establishes a true centerpiece in downtown Fort Worth that will become a destination for generations to come.”
Four enormous umbrellas are a focal point in the plaza. Each standing 32 feet tall, the German manufactured umbrellas are the first of its kind in the United States. One umbrella covers an area of 40 feet by 40 feet for a total coverage of more than 6,000 square feet in the 55,000 square foot plaza. Constructed of a telescopic mast, folding steel frames, and Teflon fabric, the umbrellas create translucent shade during the day and at night are transformed into a stunning canopy with LED lights.
A 2,000-square-foot pavilion with a beautiful dome roof can accommodate special events. Situated on the north side of the plaza, the pavilion has bi-fold movable glass doors, which open to a 65-foot long pool with waves cascading over steps in programmed patterns and LED lights illuminating the water after dark. Water features are abundant throughout the plaza. On the west side of the plaza is a 216-jet fountain that will entertain guests of all ages. The jets are flush with the surface and at night are lit with white LED lights.
Great care has been taken to insure the plaza is pedestrian friendly throughout. Fred Kent, president of Project for Public Spaces, led a public input session last year, which resulted in incorporating elements into the design such as curb extensions. Five have been finished surrounding the project with another seven to be completed. The curb extensions allow the plaza to interact with the rest of downtown and improves accessibility for pedestrians.
“The excitement has been mounting as we have neared the completion of the plaza and people can see our vision becoming a reality,” said Johnny Campbell, Sundance Square president and CEO. “As we move into the holidays and the plaza becomes center stage for so many events, we anticipate Sundance Square Plaza will become one of the beloved treasures not only of Fort Worth, but for Texas.”
The multi-purpose stage anchors the plaza’s west end in front of The Westbrook building. A two-tiered platform measures 17 feet wide by 28 feet deep and can be further expanded for large concerts with movable platforms or adapted for a large movie screen. Permanent stage lighting and audiovisual equipment are positioned within the plaza for maximum entertainment capabilities.
“Sundance Square continues to exceed the national average for commercial office space occupancies,” said Campbell. “It is a bold statement to undertake three new Class A buildings at the same time. From the time we first announced the project, interest has been strong and we are currently ahead of schedule for leasing in each of the three new buildings.”
The Westbrook and the Commerce Building flank the plaza on the west and east sides of the plaza respectively.
On the east side of the plaza, the Commerce Building boasts more than 83,000 square feet with nearly 17,000 square feet of significant retail and restaurant space. The ground floor is completely leased by RadioShack, Del Frisco’s Grille, The Silver Leaf Cigar Bar, and Bird Café. More than 90 percent of the total space in the building is leased. The new building is connected to the existing Land Title building, built in 1889, and designed to complement the architecture and scale of other buildings in the area.
Named after the historic Westbrook Hotel built in the early 1900s and demolished in 1978, The Westbrook is located at 425 Houston Street. It stands six stories tall and encompasses more than 93,000 square feet including 12,393 square feet of retail space. The ground floor includes an office lobby on Houston Street and retail space fronting Houston, 3rd and 4th Streets, as well as the plaza. Taco Diner and Starbucks Coffee Company have signed leases and are currently finishing out their space to open over the next few months.
The Jett Building, adorned with the famous Chisholm Trail Mural at the corner of Main and 3rd Streets, has been preserved and will continue to house a local radio station and Jamba Juice.
A third building, The Cassidy, is one block west of the plaza and will open in July 2014. With more than 99,000 square feet, the six-story structure will include retail, office and six luxury penthouse apartments. All three buildings are expected to be LEED certified.
Partners on the project included: Michael Vergason Landscape Architects – landscape architect; Fluidity Design Consultants – water features; David M Schwarz Architects, Inc. – project designer; The Projects Group – project manager; Bennett Benner Pettit, Planners + Architects – architect of record; and The Beck Group – construction.
Sundance Square is a vibrant, award-winning entertainment district spanning 35 blocks in downtown Fort Worth. The multi-use development attracts more than 10 million visitors each year. For more information about Sundance Square, visit sundancesquare.com or follow the business and entertainment development on Facebook.com/sundancesquare or Twitter @sundancesquare.