Special to the Fort Worth Business Press
Words cannot describe – and neither can architectural drawings - the ongoing transformation of “two ugly parking lots” into a Main Street plaza that Fort Worth leaders have been dreaming about for decades.
But Sundance Square President and CEO Johnny Campbell brought the dream to life Wednesday for nearly Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce members and guests who will get a chance to see it themselves in less than a year.
Aided by a mixture of straightforward and fanciful drawings and photos, Campbell recalled how ESPN crews scurried around North Texas in 2010 looking for the ideal spot to broadcast crowds in town for the 2011 Super Bowl.
ESPN eventually set up in front of the city’s famed Chisholm Trail mural, capturing photos of people outside even in the midst of the “apocalyptic snowstorm,” he said, drawing chuckles.
“People want a central gathering place that is vibrant and genuine,” Campbell said. “Sophisticated tourists want to go where the locals go, not a place put together for tourists.”
That’s what Sundance owners, their architects and contractors are trying feverishly to complete by next Oct. 1.
The 57,000-square-foot plaza will straddle Main Street, including the two “ugly asphalt parking lots” that housed the ESPN booth, Campbell said.
The project includes three 6-story commercial buildings that are intended for retail, restaurants and office space, he said.
The prospect of new business aside, the Chamber crowd was clearly entranced by proposed water walls and gigantic “magical umbrellas” borrowed from European and Middle Eastern cities.
The 32 by 44-foot umbrellas have been withstood 90 mph winds, rain and heat but maybe not for Texas hail, Campbell said. But they can also be used for entertainment, he said.
“If I don’t get oohs and aahs by showing them opening and closing, imagine changing the mood with LED color lights,” he said.