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#51 Brian Luenser

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 09:02 AM

All of the big shots Downtown want to shut down Main Street for the plaza. But they admit it is very hard to get approval for such. The company designing the plaza, best in the World (PPS... Also see Times Square), would like to think they can convice the City it would be a smart move. No doubt, the Sundance people want this area to be an amazing draw to the City.
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#52 Ron Payne

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 11:11 AM

Makes sense to me - most traffic in and out (north and south)uses Houston and Commerce - I certainly wouldn't miss a block of Main Street - I think I've only been on it walking.
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#53 Doohickie

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 12:04 PM

They already shut it down in April (Art Fest), December (Christmas tree), etc. How could would it be to make it a pedestrian mall? I think you'd need to leave 4th, 5th, 6th & 7th Streets open to carry traffic from the freeway into the west side of downtown, but in between? Maybe put a bike lane down the middle and make the rest of it a pedestrian mall.
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#54 renamerusk

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 02:53 PM

.... How could would it be to make it a pedestrian mall? I think you'd need to leave 4th, 5th, 6th & 7th Streets open to carry traffic from the freeway into the west side of downtown, but in between? Maybe put a bike lane down the middle and make the rest of it a pedestrian mall.


Love your idea; one that I have blog for in the past. How cool would it be if there was "pedestrian/bike/horseback-trail linear brick parkway" on Main Street stretching north from 4th to the Courthouse. Bring back the hitching rails along Main Street; they have been absent for far too long.- What an amazing public space that would be!

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#55 Russ Graham

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 03:28 PM

100% agree... Some of my favorite towns have done this and it works great. 16th street mall in Denver, Pearl street in Boulder, Old Town in Fort Collins, Third-street Promenade in Santa Monica -- Lots of towns where I've seen this, it ends up being the most memorable part of the city. Main street is perfect for this. Nobody ever drives down it at the moment, and you've always got a view to the courthouse.

[edit] I mean they've done the pedestrian part - everything but the livestock. I'm not opposed to that, but you need to factor in money for janitors to walk around behind the horses "cleaning up". [/edit]

You've got my vote!

#56 ron4Life

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 09:04 PM

All of the big shots Downtown want to shut down Main Street for the plaza. But they admit it is very hard to get approval for such. The company designing the plaza, best in the World (PPS... Also see Times Square), would like to think they can convice the City it would be a smart move. No doubt, the Sundance people want this area to be an amazing draw to the City.

Shouldn't effect much if they close that section of main st. I think the city should build a huge parking complex on the edge of the center city and have motorist catch some type of public transit into the center city or other popular areas.

#57 Brian Luenser

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 06:18 AM

Three shots from this Morning.

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#58 mmiller2002

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 07:07 AM

Man, they really have to work around the mural and old saucer buildings...they'll be dwarfed

Kinda like little old Freds being surrounded by cement walls.

#59 John T Roberts

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 07:38 AM

I don't know whether they will be really dwarfed or not. The 7 story Westbrook Hotel stood on the western block where the Jett Building (Chisholm Trail Mural) is located. The only difference is that the Westbrook fronted on 4th Street and extended from Houston to Main. The buildings that were next to the Jett Building were also 3 stories.

If you want to see how the new 5 story building will look next to the Land Title Block (Old Flying Saucer) you can go to the renderings here: http://www.fortworth...indpost&p=67158

#60 Ron Payne

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 08:34 AM

Thanks for the pictures - we appreciate seeing what's going on behind the comic strip! Our house went back on the market today and we already have a showing at noon, so maybe the move to the Tower isn't far away and we can check out the action for ourselves!
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#61 Brian Luenser

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 06:54 AM

^ Ron, we are leaving a light on for you! (You can have any condo you want, except mine...)

Lot is going on each day now in Sundance construction. If I had to guess, the old Flying Saucer annex is in its final hours.
Look at yesterday's shot above, and then today's.

Posted Image
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#62 Ron Payne

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 07:26 AM

Thanks for the light Brian - maybe we can check out that 6k SF unit up top LOL Nah, too many zeros in that price tag!

We drove by the construction about a half hour after you took this and could see through the gaps in the fence - it looked like the demolition of the annex has begun!
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#63 jefffwd

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 10:55 AM

It would be nice to get a webcam or two set up

#64 Brian Luenser

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 11:06 AM

It would be nice to get a webcam or two set up


I have the place and the money. Lacking only knowledge to execute. (Bummer. Have been wanting to do just that for years, Jeff.)
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#65 Brian Luenser

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 10:33 AM

25 seconds of construction just now. (They started working Saturday's today)


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#66 jefffwd

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 08:26 AM


It would be nice to get a webcam or two set up


I have the place and the money. Lacking only knowledge to execute. (Bummer. Have been wanting to do just that for years, Jeff.)


Try getting in touch with the folks at www.wxnation.com they are actually based in north Fort Worth and have a couple North FW cams as well as this national weather site... Here is a North FW weather shot (refreshes every five seconds) http://www.wxnation.com/livecam/

#67 Brian Luenser

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 07:25 AM

Annex gone.

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#68 Ron Payne

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 09:25 AM

Wow - not just down, but gone! Are they hauling debris out at night?
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#69 John T Roberts

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 09:37 AM

I knew it wouldn't take long to clear it out. I had a meeting downtown yesterday afternoon, but I forgot to drive by the site. However, I had another meeting in the Cultural District yesterday evening, and I drove by there after dark. The building was gone by then. I could see piles of bricks through the construction fence.

#70 RD Milhollin

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 10:02 AM

I knew it wouldn't take long to clear it out. I had a meeting downtown yesterday afternoon, but I forgot to drive by the site. However, I had another meeting in the Cultural District yesterday evening, and I drove by there after dark. The building was gone by then. I could see piles of bricks through the construction fence.


It doesn't look as though there was any attempt at an historical archaeology survey of the ground before large scale excavation took place. Too bad, this is close to the earliest settlement in Fort Worth. The parking lot paving would have preserved a lot from usual deterioration since the last buildings were torn down in that area.

#71 John T Roberts

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 10:38 AM

They have found a few remains of things on the two sites. Just north of the Land Title Block, they found the remains of an old swimming pool. I first thought it was from the Natatorium, but that building was on the corner where the new Flying Saucer Patio is now located. The Fort Worth Opera House was on the southwest corner of 3rd and Commerce (Rusk). Except for the Richelieu Grill, all of those buildings on the block were demolished in the 1950's.

As for the western portion of the site, they have run into the basement walls of the Westbrook Hotel.

#72 Doohickie

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 11:58 AM

For those of you who are Facebook friends with the Bike Lady (city planner Julia McCleeary), she is on her way back from DeMoines. She posted some interesting things about the downtown there that highlight some of the shortcomings of FtW downtown. One thing was that there really isn't anyplace to just hang out. I like to think this plaza will help with that, but it will take more than open space. Julia posted some pics of sculptures, food vendors, etc. I hope that either the new plaza will include reasons to congregate and hang out. One thing I've noticed about FtW downtown is that it is all about commerce. If you don't have something to buy or want something to eat, there really isn't much to do there.

This is perhaps tangential to the discussion of the actual development, but I thought it was worth saying and didn't want to start a new thread. It would be interesting to see some detailed concept designs of what the plaza will end up looking like.
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#73 Joshw

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 02:22 PM

Many memories on that patio, upstairs and down. RIP. :(

#74 Brian Luenser

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 08:46 AM

Kind of interesting seeing the digging going on this morning. I feel like an armchair archaeologist looking at the layers of old stuff. I do have something in me that wants to go over there and dig threw the dirt looking for hundred year old ash trays or clothes irons.


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crop
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#75 Ron Payne

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 09:28 AM

Interesting stuff - looks like old brick work in the lower left corner of the close-up. There's gotta be a few treasures mixed in with all that dirt!
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#76 John T Roberts

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 10:37 AM

Brian, you have confirmed my memory of 1978. I thought they used the remains of the Westbrook Hotel as fill for the parking lot. Here's a photograph of the building right before the button was pushed to implode it.

Posted Image

#77 jefffwd

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 10:53 AM

Brian, you have confirmed my memory of 1978. I thought they used the remains of the Westbrook Hotel as fill for the parking lot. Here's a photograph of the building right before the button was pushed to implode it.

Posted Image


Gosh... Downtown used to be ugly! Thank God (and the Bass family) for cleaning the place up!

#78 Doohickie

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 12:05 PM

Side-by-side comparison
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I spent some time this spring walking around San Antonio downtown (street level, not Riverwalk), and old Fort Worth looked a lot more like current San Antonio than I realized. Preserving the old is admirable, but sometimes you need to tear down before you can build up.

Also, thanks John: I first arrived in Fort Worth in 1987, and up until seeing that picture the Westbrook was nothing more than a word to me, a ghost of some former Fort Worth life.
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#79 Brian Luenser

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 12:26 PM

John, that is an incredible photo. It is a view I have been looking at for over 6 years. A really crazy image. I am surprised by the things that have changed and the things that have not. The building that houses Razoos is identical with only a different lunch special. But the Jett building (with the Sundance Mural) looks terrible. I did not know it ever fell into such a state of disrepair. No wonder the basement is haunted.

If I had to guess, the old photo was taken from around floor 11 of the First National Bank building. (The Tower). And it was taken by a camera with that special gelatin silver paper for recording images. (I think they called it film?)
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#80 Ron Payne

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 12:41 PM

Nice comparison Doohickie! I was looking at the old photo trying to place things in my mind's eye, and all I had to do was scroll down! I agree - DTFW has come a LONG way!

Brian - I too remember some sort of mylar-type product which went in the back of the camera where my batteries go now. Seems I was limited to a dozen or two shots with several days to wait and see what came out and what was trash...
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#81 Doohickie

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 02:38 PM

Here's a good one: Count the number of trees in the 1970s photo.... :blink:
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#82 Brian Luenser

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 03:00 PM

Here's a good one: Count the number of trees in the 1970s photo.... :blink:


Wow. That's why I am not a detective. Did not notice the lack of trees.
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#83 ramjet

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 04:55 PM

Wow! Those comparison pics! I have also admired over time how the Sundance Square folks have deftly managed to keep the district relevant. In the 34 years since the Westbrook demolition, Sundance Square has only gotten better and better and better. Can't say that about entertainment districts in other cities (or even others in Fort Worth), whose fortunes seem to ebb and flow with the tastes of the time. Yes, a big thanks to the Bass family in particular, but to all the managers, marketers, business owners, maintenance people (the place is spotless most of time, come to downtown Austin on a Monday morning and you'll be even more thankful to folks who keep downtown Fort Worth clean), construction workers, etc. who have had a hand in the building of Sundance Square.

Too bad I probably won't be around when someone on the Fort Worth Forum in 2047 compares today's Sundance Square picture to the hologram that will reflect the progress of the next 34 years. (BTW, I wonder if the next generation of the Bass family will have the same level of interest in downtown Fort Worth in future decades that the current generation has demonstrated?)

#84 John T Roberts

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 05:34 PM

The photo was taken from the 23rd floor of the Fort Worth National Bank Building (not First National - Sorry, Brian). For a link to the Fort Worth Forum Topic specifically on the Westbrook Hotel Implosion, please go here:
http://www.fortworth...?showtopic=1676. If you want to see other Sundance Square buildings before they were restored, go to the Stripling's Department Store Implosion photographs here: http://www.fortwortharchitecture.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=1677&st=0&p=27595&hl=stripling's&fromsearch=1&entry27595. Stripling's and Leonard's were demolished specifically for the developments we have today.

The photo of the Westbrook, probably shows downtown close to it's rock bottom. The only time it probably looked worse was when Leonard's and Stripling's were piles of rubble, Main Street was torn up for re-bricking, and the buildings in Sundance were being gutted for restoration. At that time, it looked like a bomb had gone off at the intersection of 2nd and Main. All of you were commenting on how bad the Jett Building looked at that time. You have to remember that in order to implode the Westbrook, the old McCrory's store, which surrounded the Jett Building. McCrory's was built after the alleys were closed because you can see the bricked up windows on the west side of the Jett Building, yet the south side did not have any windows because it was butted next to another building.

Downtown didn't have many trees back in the 1970's. Also, notice the lack of surface parking lots in that area in the 1970's.

#85 Doohickie

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 06:00 PM

Don't forget the aftermath of the tornado. Downtown looked pretty bad then, too.
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#86 John T Roberts

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 06:10 PM

I will agree that it looked bad after the tornado, but there weren't blocks of the city in piles of rubble. At least after the tornado, the structures were still mostly intact. The tornado cleanup was done fairly quickly, except for the Tower and the Landmark Tower.

#87 David Love

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 06:18 PM

I will agree that it looked bad after the tornado, but there weren't blocks of the city in piles of rubble. At least after the tornado, the structures were still mostly intact. The tornado cleanup was done fairly quickly, except for the Tower and the Landmark Tower.


When I first moved downtown the rooftops looked that bad, then Google Earth came out and in about 2 years they were all cleaned up.

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#88 David Love

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 06:59 PM

I'd love to get in there with a high end metal detector.

Annex gone.

Posted Image


Posted Image


Posted Image


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#89 cberen1

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 08:56 PM

What building is in the booting right of the 1978 photo? Appears to be on the now vacant lot to the South of Leddy's.

#90 John T Roberts

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 09:01 PM

That was Monnig's Department Store, demolished in 1991.

#91 downtowndweller

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Posted 07 July 2012 - 04:15 PM

Wow, incredible before and after pic. Can't wait to see another picture after the two new buildings are finished.

#92 Brian Luenser

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 09:37 AM

^ Downtowndweller. I saved the 1978 photo and have looked at it many times. A total jewel.

Here is a shot from this morning. The hole is bigger than it looks...

Posted Image
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#93 Doohickie

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 09:51 AM

The hole is bigger than it looks...

And it looks pretty darn big.
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#94 Ron Payne

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 12:03 PM

Judging by the guys standing on the edge, it has to be 20' plus?
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#95 John T Roberts

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 03:01 PM

The associated site work and the public plaza goes before the Downtown Design Review Board on Monday, July 23rd at 3:30 PM at City Hall.

#96 Brian Luenser

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Posted 14 July 2012 - 10:16 AM

Saturday Morning. (7-14-12)

Posted Image

70-200mm and cropped
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#97 David Love

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Posted 14 July 2012 - 10:25 AM

Great idea and way overdue.

All of the big shots Downtown want to shut down Main Street for the plaza. But they admit it is very hard to get approval for such. The company designing the plaza, best in the World (PPS... Also see Times Square), would like to think they can convice the City it would be a smart move. No doubt, the Sundance people want this area to be an amazing draw to the City.


Better Business Bureau:  A place to find or post valid complaints for auto delerships and maintenance facilities. (New Features) If you have a valid gripe about auto dealerships, this is the place to voice it.


#98 Brian Luenser

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Posted 16 July 2012 - 07:18 AM

This Morning. First time I have seen them bringing dirt in and not out. I guess they like this dirt better.

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#99 360texas

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Posted 16 July 2012 - 08:06 AM

Maybe they just like 'Clean Dirt' without any mixed small rocks and debris. Single type of soil is easier to compact and do soil compaction tests.

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#100 Joshw

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Posted 16 July 2012 - 03:46 PM

Is that a tunnel I see in the old Saucer parking lot? I wonder where it goes...I've always heard there were old tunnels under downtown, but no one has ever been able to give me any solid evidence.





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Downtown, Construction Photographs, Sundance Square, Sundance Plaza, The Westbrook, Commerce Building, Jett Building, Land Title Block

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