Prime retail space to open in 2013 in Sundance Square

Downtown Fort Worth breaks ground on three new buildings in center of 35-block development

Sundance Square CEO Johnny Campbell, developer Ed Bass, Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price and Fort Worth Councilman Joel Burns

Sundance Square officially broke ground May 9 on three new buildings in the center of the 35-block office, retail, and entertainment district.

The building names were also revealed and in keeping with Sundance Square’s heritage, the new buildings will be known as The Commerce Building located at 420 Commerce Street; The Westbrook situated at 425 Houston Street; and The Cassidy at 407 Throckmorton Street. The buildings will open in 2013.

“This project has been part of the master plan in downtown Fort Worth for decades,” said Ed Bass, project developer. “To finally see dirt moving is gratifying for our team and it will forever change the landscape of Sundance Square.”

The location, size and design of The Westbrook and The Commerce Building accomplish several goals for the project including the creation of prime retail space at street level, creating a physical enclosure for a future plaza space, and continuing the tradition of timeless and beautiful buildings in Fort Worth.

Sundance Square launched the new development by depressing an old-fashioned detonator which triggered confetti cannons.

“Interest in space from office and retail users has been strong since we announced the project,” said Johnny Campbell, president and CEO of Sundance Square. “Now that the construction is in full swing, we expect to start signing leases and making some announcements this year. With these buildings in the heart of Sundance Square, we want to create a perfect blend of retail and restaurants. The merchandising will play an important role in activating the plaza. We are taking a little more time to make sure we have the right fit.”

The Westbrook

The Westbrook at 425 Houston Street, named after the historic seven-story Westbrook Hotel built in the early 1900s, closed in 1969, and was demolished in 1978.

It will stand six stories tall and encompass more than 93,000 square feet including 12,393 square feet of retail space. The ground floor of the building will include an office lobby on Houston Street and retail space fronting Houston, 3rd and 4th Streets, as well as the future plaza space to the east.

The façade will include a handsome mix of granite, limestone, brick, and decorative aluminum taking inspiration from several historic downtown buildings including the Blackstone Hotel and the Western Union Building. The Jett Building, adorned with the famous Chisholm Trail Mural at the corner of Main and 3rd Streets, will be preserved.

The Commerce Building

The Commerce Building at 420 Commerce Street will encompass more than 83,000 square feet with nearly 17,000 square feet of significant retail and restaurant space.

The ground floor will include an office lobby on Commerce Street and retail space front Commerce, 3rd and 4th Streets, as well as future plaza space to the east.

The upper floor offices will access terraces on both the north and south ends of the building. The massing of the new building will respond to the height of the existing Land Title building so as not to overwhelm this historic landmark, which will be preserved.

The façade of the Commerce Building will be broken into three distinct parts to complement the scale of the other buildings in this area. The center façade will feature four-story high arched brick window bays over a rusticated granite and brick base.

The Cassidy Building

The Cassidy at 407 Throckmorton Street will be six floors in height and more than 99,000 square feet, including 12,196 square feet of retail and 12,187 square feet of residential space.

This L-shaped site will have frontage on W. 3rd and Houston Streets as well as Throckmorton Street with different portions featuring three distinct architectural façades.

The Cassidy’s top floor will feature residential living with six luxury penthouse apartments. The one- and two-bedroom units will have outdoor terraces with floor to ceiling glass walls and sweeping views of Sundance Square and the City of Fort Worth. They will be accessed as an extension of the Sanger Loft apartments at 222 W. 4th Street.

“The Westbrook, The Cassidy and The Commerce Building will be Class A prime office space with highly-designed lobby finishes and architectural details,” said Bass. “We are creating buildings that are sustainable and preserve the essence of Fort Worth’s history.”

Each building will have LED perimeter lighting that follows the design of all Sundance Square buildings. Currently, there is more than 7,600 linear feet of LED lighting cable outlining 18 buildings in Sundance Square with colors and patterns computer-controlled at a single, centralized location.

As with The Carnegie, which opened in 2008, Sundance Square will work to obtain LEED certification on the three new buildings.

David M Schwarz Architects, Inc. is the designer of the project. Schwarz has been the master-plan architect for Sundance Square since 1989. His firm has designed five previous Sundance Square buildings as well as the Nancy Lee and Perry R. Bass Performance Hall.

The Projects Group of Fort Worth, Texas, which offers comprehensive program and project management services to companies, non-profit organizations and institutional entities, has been named the project manager.

Bennett Benner Pettit, Planners + Architects was named architect of record for the project. The Beck Group has been retained as construction manager.

Virginia-based Michael Vergason Landscape Architects, LTD has been retained to design the long-awaited plaza at the heart of the 35-block Sundance Square district. The firm will be responsible for design of the landscape, hardscape, water features, and lighting of the plaza space.

The plaza space itself will encompass 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 are currently being developed and are expected to be released in the summer of 2012.

Sundance Square is a vibrant 35-block commercial, residential, entertainment and retail district where people work, live, shop and dine among beautiful landscaping, red-brick streets and turn-of-the-century buildings.

Story and photos by David Alvey.

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