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  #1  
Old Posted Nov 4, 2013, 4:49 AM
John R John R is offline
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Fort Worth, Texas Puts the Square into Sundance Square

For over 30 years, the Master Plan for Downtown Fort Worth and Sundance Square included a public plaza on the two blocks that were on each side of Main Street between 3rd and 4th Streets. These two blocks included two historic buildings and the remainder was surface parking lots. This thread has a mix of old and new photographs, and the older ones are smaller in size.

The first historic building was the Land Title Block, built in 1889. It has shades of Richardsonian Romanesque architecture and has served as a restaurant for many years.


The other building was the Jett Building, built around 1902.


This building was most famous for the Chisholm Trail Mural that faced into the parking lot. The photo below shows the mural and how the lot was next to the building.


Here’s another view of the parking lot showing the mural, Sundance Square, and the two City Center towers in the background.


The concept of this plaza was to build one building on the western half of the blocks and another building on the eastern half of the other, which left one full block centered on Main Street. The two historic buildings would remain and they were designated as City of Fort Worth Historic and Cultural Landmarks by the City of Fort Worth as a part of this project.

The westernmost building is called The Westbrook, which takes its name from the old Westbrook Hotel, which sat on this block until it was demolished in 1978. The Westbrook Hotel was 7 stories. This new building is 6 stories. Here is the view of the building taken at approximately the same location as the previous photograph from the intersection of 4th and Houston Streets.


The easternmost building is called The Commerce Building and it is 5 stories and it was built behind the Land Title Block. Here is the Commerce Street façade.


A sort of short canyon is now developing along Commerce Street with several new mid-rise buildings constructed on the street within the last few years.


A third building along 3rd Street is also being constructed. It is called The Cassidy, and its basement was built in 1991 as underground parking for Sundance West and the Sanger Lofts. The structure was designed to support a 22 story residential building, but the project was scaled down and it will have 6 floors of retail, office, and residential within the building. Here is a view looking down Throckmorton Street. The Sanger Lofts are in the foreground and in the background are Sundance West and the Renaissance Worthington Hotel.


A new pavilion for the plaza was built along 3rd Street and across Main Street from the Jett Building. This pavilion has an indoor/outdoor room that can be rented for meetings, weddings, receptions, and special events. Public Restrooms are also located within this building.


Here’s a view looking across the plaza to the Knights of Pythias Castle Hall and the pavilion.


Immediately south of the pavilion and directly behind the Commerce Building are four umbrellas to provide shade in the plaza.


This is a view across the plaza looking north toward the Tarrant County Courthouse.


The Westbrook has a built-in stage facing the plaza and here is a view from the lowest part of the stage looking at the Chisholm Trail Mural.


The place really comes alive at night. All of the lighting is LED and all of the Sundance Square buildings are outlined in them. The signature piece of The Westbrook is the built-in stage and clock tower above it that faces the plaza. The clock is an LED screen, not a real clock. During the opening festivities the clock had the image of an analog clock on it. Unfortunately, it is too bright to pick up in a photograph. This is a view looking across the plaza.


The umbrellas have lights shining up on them and they can change colors, as well.


In front of The Westbrook is a fountain that dances, stays at the same level, can become a reflecting pool, or can be turned off to house spectators for concerts.




There is also a wave wall between the Pavilion and the umbrellas.


This space is a big improvement over the two surface parking lots. A RadioShack Flagship Store and a Del Frisco's Grille has opened in the Commerce Building. Starbucks Coffee, Taco Diner, Bird Café, and the Silver Leaf Cigar Bar are scheduled to open soon. This still leaves some retail space available within the two buildings. However, I do have some bad news Barnes & Noble Booksellers is closing their downtown location, along with another location in Central Fort Worth. There will be an announcement within the next 10 days of the replacement tenant or tenants. I hope you enjoyed the new Sundance Square Plaza.
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  #2  
Old Posted Nov 4, 2013, 10:10 AM
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Thanks for your pics of Sundance Square.

I´ve liked those historic buildings around the plaza. The fountains and umbrellas are pretty too, with much style. I like that new open space with pedestrian areas.

By the way, the Chisholm Trail Mural is amazing. I can see Forth Worth´s downtown is really nice.

Congrats and greetings from Madrid, Spain.
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  #3  
Old Posted Nov 4, 2013, 11:41 AM
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Nice photos. It's good to see some Fort Worth updates. I really like the Westbrook Building. Classy building. It looks like the base of an old 1930s era skyscraper.
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Old Posted Nov 4, 2013, 3:01 PM
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Danny, I actually didn't shoot many of the restored buildings sitting around the new plaza. There's quite a large concentration of them. The Chisholm Trail Mural is a tourist attraction in itself, and I always thought it was out of place facing a parking lot. Now, it is facing into the plaza, which is a great setting for the mural. They also have illuminated it at night in a much better way.

Kevin, it has been a while. I don't post near like I used to do, but I still visit the forum every day. I thought that with the addition of the plaza, it was worth letting everyone know that we finally got rid of those ugly parking lots right in the center of town.
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  #5  
Old Posted Nov 5, 2013, 12:20 AM
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A bazillion times better than what it was previously.
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  #6  
Old Posted Nov 5, 2013, 1:38 AM
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awesome improvement!
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  #7  
Old Posted Nov 5, 2013, 3:35 AM
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This is a well-designed public space, and it looks good. It's human scaled; intimate rather than monumental. It's got nice features, like the fountains and sun shades. The lighting in and around the plaza at night is inviting and gives the space a distinct identity. And with the built-in stage, the space is programmable for all kinds of events--concerts, rallies, festivals, etc.

I predict it will be very popular!
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Old Posted Nov 5, 2013, 3:45 AM
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Fort Worth can accomplish anything!

That parking lot has been an eyesore for decades. I'm impressed.
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  #9  
Old Posted Nov 5, 2013, 4:22 AM
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For those of you who were wondering why it took 30 years to build the plaza. The problem was that the Bass Family (Sundance Square) didn't own all of the land. They leased almost all of the land on the east side of Main Street. Several years ago, they purchased the west side of that block, but they still didn't own any of the Commerce Street frontage north of the Land Title Block. They finally closed on that land in 2010, and from that point started the planning and design of the buildings and the plaza.
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Old Posted Nov 5, 2013, 5:44 AM
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^

Yeah, I knew that block was split up weird. I'm impressed that the Bass Family was civic minded enough to put that kind of money out to buy out the block. Fort Worth has great patronage, the Bass Family, the Carters etc.
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Old Posted Nov 5, 2013, 2:56 PM
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I'm glad it is completed, for the most part. The tenants still need to finish their lease spaces and move in, but that will come fairly quickly. Completion of The Cassidy is next on the horizon, but further down the line, Sundance Square plans to construct another parking garage and a boutique hotel on the block to the southwest of The Westbrook.
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Old Posted Nov 5, 2013, 4:38 PM
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I can't stop looking at Fort Worth's downtown. It's so pretty. I wish the rest of Texas would follow their lead with preservation efforts.
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Old Posted Nov 5, 2013, 4:51 PM
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Thanks for the pics! They did a good job. The plaza was long needed!
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  #14  
Old Posted Nov 6, 2013, 2:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinFromTexas View Post
I can't stop looking at Fort Worth's downtown. It's so pretty. I wish the rest of Texas would follow their lead with preservation efforts.
I think San Antonio is good about preservation efforts. I've heard the same about El Paso, but I don't know for sure.
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  #15  
Old Posted Nov 6, 2013, 12:28 PM
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at last, at last they got rid of those eyesore parking lots. it was obviously bound to happen soon, but good to see it get done.
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  #16  
Old Posted Nov 8, 2013, 5:07 AM
John R John R is offline
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I had a chance to go up to the top floor of The Westbrook today. I took some pictures with my cell phone. If there are any that are good, I will upload them soon.
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  #17  
Old Posted Nov 9, 2013, 10:33 AM
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thanks for the great before and after. good riddance parking lots. the Westbrook is awesome, it looks historic.

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Old Posted Nov 9, 2013, 6:04 PM
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Major improvement! That's a gem.
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  #19  
Old Posted Nov 10, 2013, 2:59 AM
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Here are the pictures that I took from the top of The Westbrook on Thursday at sunset. I apologize for the quality. They were taken with my cell phone.





Looking northward along Houston Street


This is a shot of The Cassidy, going up across the street from The Westbrook.


This view is looking southward along Houston Street.
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  #20  
Old Posted Nov 10, 2013, 3:13 AM
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That mural is spectacular.
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