Baker Ahles & Kaskovich

December 8, 2013

Sundance Square plans changes to Second Street in downtown Fort Worth

Plan will make Second Street a through street and add parking spaces east of D.R. Horton Tower.

Sundance Square closed Main Street to traffic between Third and Fourth streets to build its new outdoor plaza. But now it’s planning to open a section of another street that has been closed for years.

The developer of the 35-block district in downtown Fort Worth is proposing changes to a portion of Second Street that curves and bisects two of its parking lots between Calhoun and Grove streets, east of the D.R. Horton Tower.

It plans to build and realign Second Street between Calhoun and Jones streets, to make it a through street on the east edge of downtown.

Small portions of the existing lots that had been green space will be converted into parking, adding 76 spaces. Each lot will have 131 spaces open for lease to the public and free after 5 p.m. and on weekends. Entrances and exits to each lot will be on Jones Street.

Barry Lohr, Sundance Square’s parking director, said the change was instigated by a recent traffic study by Downtown Fort Worth Inc.

The Downtown Design Review Board approved the changes last week, but asked Sundance Square to plant additional trees around the two lots.

The change may make traffic flow better, but is Sundance Square perhaps preparing the lots for development?

Ed Bass, lead developer of Sundance Square, suggested at the November opening of Sundance Square Plaza that its next projects will include developing the blocks east of the City Center towers for town homes and apartments.

We suspect those plans may be further along than Bass implied.

Exxon Mobil wins state employment award

Irving-based Exxon Mobil was named the state’s employer of the year by the Texas Workforce Commission at the state agency’s annual conference last week.

Exxon, whose operations include Fort Worth-based XTO Energy, was cited for creating an estimated 10,000 construction jobs and 350 permanent jobs with its planned expansion in Baytown. The energy giant already employs about 6,500 at its refinery and petrochemical complex.

It’s also supporting a training initiative aimed at recruiting workers for petrochemical jobs in the Houston area, committing $500,000 to nine community college districts, TWC said.

It topped four other finalists, including GE Manufacturing Solutions, which was nominated by Tarrant County and the North Texas arms of Workforce Solutions. GE has opened two big factories just west of the Texas Motor Speedway, north of Alliance Airport, to build locomotives and heavy mining equipment.

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