Sundance Square officials broke ground today on the planned three new buildings to be located in the center of downtown Fort Worth. And they did it with an explosion of confetti that can likely still be found floating along Main Street.
Work on the buildings will begin immediately with a completion date set for 2013. The buildings willÂ be called The Commerce Building, The Westbrook and The Cassidy.
â€œThis is going to be an anchor project for downtown Fort Worth,â€ said Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price. â€œThis will be a great thing for the local business community.â€
Price broke ground on the project along withÂ Johnny Campbell, president and CEO of Sundance Square, Ed Bass, principal and partner at Sundance Square and Fort Worth City Councilman for District 9 Joel Burns. Together, the four ignited a replica TNT device that shot red and white confetti up into the air and over the heads of the crowd at the official groundbreaking ceremony hosted on Main Street on the morning of May 9.
The Westbrook, located at 425 Houston St., will stand at six stories and will include 93,000 square feet of space with 12,393 square feet designated as retail space on the ground floor. The building will be located directly beside The Jett Building, which many know by its Chisholm Trail Mural at the corner of Main and Third Streets. The Jett Building will be preserved, Sundance Square officials confirmed.
The Commerce Building will be located at 420 Commerce St. and will offer 83,000 square feet of space with nearly 17,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space. The ground floor will include an office lobby on Commerce Street and retail space front Commerce, Third and Fourth Streets as well as future plaza space to the east.
The Cassidy building will be located at 407 Throckmorton St. and will be six stories high with 99,000 square feet of space, including 12,196 square feet of retail and 12,187 square feet of residential space. The L-shaped site will have frontage on West Third and Houston streets and on Throckmorton Street. The residential component of this building will be accessed as an extension of the Sanger Loft apartments at 222 W. Fourth St.
Campbell said interest in the space from office and retail users has been strong since the onset of the project and he expects to make tenant announcements soon.
Soft goods retailers are a must-have in the tenant mix, Campbell said, to â€œround outâ€ the mix of retailers in the Sundance Square area.
Burns said the new buildings will also offer something to the business community.
â€œThe tenant mix will be one that will make everyone who lives and works here excited,â€ he said, adding that he could not be specific, but that there is talk of â€œadditional media propertiesâ€ in the area.
Burns said the multiple uses for the properties will benefit Fort Worth on many levels including adding an injection of taxable properties and businesses to the cityâ€™s tax roles.
â€œAll of Fort Worth will benefit from this,â€ Burns said.
Not yet revealed is the design for the central plaza space including in the Sundance Square re-design. Campbell said the plaza will include more than one acre and will be defined on the west by The Westbrook and on the east by The Commerce Building. Details of the plaza currently are being developed and are expected to be released in the summer of 2012 after a design consultant is brought in, Campbell said.
Basssaid the greatest cities in the world have central city plazas â€“ and Fort Worth should have its own too.
â€œItâ€™s important for Fort Worth to have a plaza,â€ Bass said. â€œWe should have a center of the city where people can come. We have General Worth Square, but it has limited abilities.â€
David M. Schwarz Architects Inc. is the designer of the project and The Projects Group of Fort Worth is project manager. Bennett Benner Pettit Planners + Architects is the projectâ€™s architect of record and The Beck Group is construction manager. Virginia-based Michael Vergason Landscape Architects Ltd. was retained to design the plaza at the heart of the project.