From the Fort Worth Business Press by Scott Nishimura
Sundance Square’s two newest commercial buildings, open since last year, are 90 and 97 percent occupied, CEO Johnny Campbell told City Council members Tuesday. The Westbrook Building is 90 percent occupied, with 3,815 square feet of retial in one space and 3,286 square feet of office space on the first floor available, Campbell said in updating the council the Sundance Plaza, which opened in November. “We have a first right of refusal” in on the office space, and “we have two retailers who are arguing at the moment per who gets the (retail) space at the corner,” Campbell said. Sundance’s Commerce Building is 97 percent occupied, with 2,470 square feet of available space left on the second floor. Campbell attributed the strength of leasing to the surging popularity of the Sundance area since the one-acre plaza opened. Retail sales in Sundance Square, the 35-block mixed-use district owned by Fort Worth’s Bass family, are up more than 20 percent so far this year, Campbell said. “That’s a million dollars a month in retail sales,” Campbell said.
And The Cheesecake Factory, which is due to open in the first half of December, is “a $10-million-a-year restaurant anywhere on the planet Earth,” he said. He also noted that this year’s figures don’t include sales from Barnes & Noble, which closed earlier this year. Campbell reeled off a litany of statistics on Sundance Plaza, which has given downtown a central meeting and programming spot. An estimated 6,500 people, for example, showed up for a New Year’s Eve fete, “with almost nothing in the way of advertising,” he said. Movie nights in the plaza have drawn an average 4,000 people per week over 10 weeks, 10 times the old average, he said. Sundance’s relationship with ESPN, which used Sundance as its broadcast center for Super Bowl XLV and the NCAA Final Four earlier this year, continues to grow. ESPN is bringing its College GameDay broadcast to Sundance to open and close the college football season this year. The opener will be conneced to the Florida State-Oklahoma State Aug. 30 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. “They’d like to see a 10,000-person crowd,” Campbell said. The close will be the first-ever college National Championship Game, Jan. 12 at AT&T Stadium. “They’re saying they are having a bigger production than they had for the Super Bowl,” Campbell said. One big difference: ESPN has the broadcast rights for the game; it did not for the Super Bowl. “When we see those cutaway views, we’re going to be looking at Fort Worth, and that’s big stuff for the city,” Campbell said. On Sundance’s ongoing study of a boutique hotel on the east side of downtown, Campbell said in an interview, “we’re still doing a lot of background study work.”