Tornado Strikes Downtown Fort Worth

Fort Worth Skyline

At 6:20 PM on March 28, 2000 Downtown Fort Worth was hit by a tornado!  I was attending a meeting at the Modern at Sundance Square, which is in the Sanger Building, a structure that received a direct hit.  Most of the plate glass windows on the ground floor were blown out and it was a little bit scary!  We took shelter inside an interior room.  Buildings receiving heavier damage were the Bank One Tower and UPR Plaza.  They are the glass buildings near the center of the picture above.  The heaviest damaged area was the Upper West Side.  That area is below Bank One and UPR and included the small building with the vertical stripes (Mallick Tower), the church, and the Cash America International Building (with sign on top) to the right of the church above.  The tower of the church was completely destroyed.  Cash America took a direct hit by the tornado.   Many buildings on the west side were totally demolished.  

Photographs taken immediately after the tornado Tuesday, March 28, 2000:

6:30 PM March 28, 2000 Chair in Car 3-28-00

Chair from the Bank One Tower inside car

I took the pictures above only minutes after the tornado struck.  These sat in one of my cameras for more than one month after the storm, I finally had them processed, but did not post them on the site because they were a little dated.  They were posted on some national forums where they were seen by others.

 

Initial Photographs of the Damage taken Wednesday, March 29, 2000 from a distance:

UPR Plaza

Bank One

Cash America 1

Cash America 2


Photographs of the Damage taken Friday, March 31, 2000 inside downtown:

UPR Plaza Bank One Tandy Center Mallick Tower Cash America


Most of downtown is open.  For the first 24 hours most of downtown was closed.  The next 6 days 20-25 blocks were closed.  One week after the tornado, only 10 blocks in the center of town were off limits with  Houston Street as the only north-south street open through the center of town.  Two blocks were still closed on the Upper West Side.  Two weeks after the storm:  about 5 blocks that surround UPR Plaza are still closed to both pedestrians and vehicular traffic.  A 9 block area around the Bank One Tower is closed to pedestrians only.  5th Street between Cash America and Calvary Cathedral is still closed.  Three weeks after the tornado: Only the area around UPR Plaza was closed to both pedestrians and vehicular traffic.  The tornado also forced the removal of the old CNB Revolving Clock on top of the Landmark Tower  a few months early.  Four weeks afterwards: UPR Plaza reopened  on April 24, 2000.  The retail lobby of Bank One opened, but access to the bank was only through the skybridge and tunnel via the parking garage.   Six Weeks:  Reata on the top of the Bank One Tower reopens.

February 19, 2001: Calvary Cathedral announces that it will not rebuild at the corner of 5th and Penn.  The remainder of the church is scheduled to be demolished and sold at a later date.

On August 1, it was announced that the Bank One Tower was to be mothballed and sold.  All tenants in the building, whether temporarily displaced or currently in operation, were to be evicted.  Bank One and Reata had 30 days to vacate the premises.  In October, a deal was struck to sell the tower to Trammell Crow.  The deal fell through just before Christmas.  Finally on February 23, Reata was forced to close and currently a deal is in the works to sell the tower to Fine Line Diversified Realty, Inc.  Fine Line is a Bass company and current plans are to demolish the building in June.  The Bank One Tower will be the 5th Tallest Building in the World ever demolished.

 

Downtown Fort Worth One Year Later:

3-25-01 3-25-01 3-25-01 3-25-01 3-25-01

Cash America

Calvary Cathedral

Mallick Tower

Bank One Tower

Bank One & UPR Plaza

On the one year anniversary of the tornado, the Cash America International Building is being reconstructed with an expanded floor plate, new design, and a four level parking garage.  The shell of the Calvary Cathedral at 5th and Penn is awaiting demolition and the property will then be sold.  The Mallick Tower has been reconstructed and tenants are moving back into the building.  The Bank One Tower is closed, vacant, and awaiting demolition by implosion.  The Landmark Tower is also sitting vacant awaiting redevelopment and replacement of the aluminum curtain wall and glass.  UPR Plaza re-opened shortly after the tornado, but with UPR being sold and moved to Houston.  Carter+Burgess have subleased the space and have moved into the building.  Replacement of glass is nearly complete on the skyscraper.  Other buildings damaged including the Charles D. Tandy Center and the City Center Development have replaced the damaged glass with additional repairs being made at this time.  Various other buildings in downtown were damaged and have either been repaired or they will be demolished. 

Also rescheduled on the anniversary was the meeting that was cancelled by the tornado that I was attending on that evening.