The Sundance Square Plaza has turned 5 years old.
On Nov. 1, 2013, Sundance Square opened a one-acre plaza following decades of planning and 18 months of construction. The 35-block entertainment and shopping destination is celebrating with a “Five & Funky” event that is free to the community.
“Since opening, our Plaza has often been referred to as Fort Worth’s living room,” said Sundance Square President and CEO Johnny Campbell.
The Plaza has hosted many events, including ESPN’s coverage of the Final Four in college football, TCU pep rallies, Plaza Palooza, and movie nights that have attracted thousands of people.
“But, just as importantly, we’ve witnessed numerous wedding proposals and impromptu reunions taking place in the plaza,” Campbell said. “We are honored that people have made Sundance Square Plaza their personal meeting place.”
Thursday’s activities included a pep rally to start the 2018-19 TCU men’s and women’s basketball season.
On Friday morning, the party continues with a “5-shaped” donut giveaway by Funkytown Donuts. From noon-2 p.m. Sundance Square will pick random people shopping to receive $5 Sundance Square gift cards.
At 5:30 p.m. Fort Worth’s renowned comedy troupe Four Day Weekend will take the main stage for a brief show as the team temporarily changes it’s name to “Five Day Weekend” in honor of the anniversary. Then Le Freak, billed as “the greatest disco band in the world” will perform from 6 p.m.-9 p.m. on the Plaza Stage.
Shortly after the Five & Funky celebration, Sundance Square will begin gearing up for the holidays. On Monday, Nov. 12, the Sundance Square Christmas Tree will arrive in the Plaza. Sundance Square elves will spend the week decorating the tree for the Saturday, Nov. 17 Tree Lighting and the Sunday, Nov. 18 Parade of Lights.
“Sundance Square Plaza continues to be the centerpiece of downtown Fort Worth,” Campbell said. “We’re proud to be the caretakers of this vivacious treasure. We want the community to mark their calendars to join us in all the great activities we have planned through the end of the year which is a fabulous opportunity to build memories with friends and family.”
Parking is always free in Sundance Square after 5 pm on weekdays. Before 5 pm, parking is free with validation from a Sundance Square restaurant or retailer. Validation is good for two and a half hours of dining or shopping, or four hours for weekday movies.
FWBP: Where did the idea for the plaza come from and why was there a need?
JC: The plaza has been on Sundance Square’s master plan for several decades.
The genesis of the project goes back to the 1970s when the Bass family had hopes of revitalizing downtown after companies had abandoned downtown Fort Worth for the suburbs.
Buildings began to crumble and the crime rate rose creating more challenges. In the 1980s, buildings were renovated, restaurants, night clubs and shops were opened and Sundance Square began taking shape. In 1988, architects were commissioned to create a development plan that included the plaza.
The Sundance Square Plaza has become a significant outdoor gathering space in downtown Fort Worth. The plaza brings together people from all over North Texas, as well as the entire country.
The need for the plaza derives from community. When you give the community an opportunity to gather together, it makes all of us better.
FWBP: What are the most significant events that have been held on the plaza?
JC: Our guests may say the most significant event held in the plaza has been a marriage proposal, of which there are too many to count. The plaza has become what we hoped it would become, and that is a destination that is beautiful, safe and inspiring to people of all ages.
FWBP: How has the plaza helped the overall vibrance of what was already a popular Sundance Square?
JC: The Sundance Square Plaza is one of the premier urban environments in the United States for people to gather, which has absolutely created more value in a very successful 35-block mixed-use development in downtown Fort Worth.
FWBP: What are some significant/historical facts about Sundance Square folks should know?
JC: 1970s – downtown Fort Worth is challenged with dilapidated buildings.
1980s – Bass family begins to purchase buildings and revitalize downtown and create Sundance Square.
Today, Sundance Square is comprised of renovated buildings with a rich history dating back to the 1800s.
Sundance Square has been recognized as one of the most successful downtown areas in the country and has received multiple awards for sustainability, pedestrian friendly, and urban excellence.
How Sundance Square got it name is interesting. You will find a nice history here:
FWBP: Can you explain the iconic clock tower on the Westbrook Building and how it works?
The clock tower is an LED screen placed within a stone bezel programmed to look like a clock. That enables us to program it in a variety of ways, including seasonal and whimsical clocks.
FWBP: What lies ahead for the plaza and Sundance Square?
Sundance Square continues to operate on a long-term master plan that includes strategies for the development of retail, office and residential uses in a very organic way.