Sundance Square chief pleased with crowds coming to plaza events

08/20/2014 3:57 PM

08/20/2014 3:59 PM

Johnny Campbell, president and CEO of Sundance Square in downtown Fort Worth, can’t help but exude excitement when he talks about the the new Sundance Square Plaza.

This week, when Campbell gave an update to the City Council on Sundance Square, the downtown entertainment, shopping, residential and office district, he rattled off some strong bullet points about the plaza’s success since it opened in November.

Among them:

•  About 25,000 people came down to the plaza during opening weekend festivities.
•  About 6,500 people showed up for a New Year’s Eve event that wasn’t even advertised.
•  About 7,500 people came down to watch ESPN’s Final Four broadcasts from the plaza in April.
•  And movie night averaged about 4,000 people each.

In the past nine months, 37 private events have been held in the pavilion on the plaza, and the Westbrook and Commerce office buildings that bookend the plaza are nearly full.

Retailers in Sundance Square are seeing a boost in business, with sales running about $9 million ahead of last year, Campbell said. And that doesn’t include the Cheesecake Factory, which is on schedule to open in the first couple of weeks of December in part of the former Barnes & Noble space. That restaurant will do about $10 million in annual sales, he said.

“I could have never predicted we’d move that quickly,” Campbell said. “It’s been fun to see what’s happened there.”

Bell shifts corporate jets to Meacham

As Bell Helicopter moves operations out of Alliance Airport to its newly expanded headquarters complex in east Fort Worth, one small piece has shifted to Meacham Airport.

The manufacturer has relocated its two corporate jets to hangars a few miles south of Alliance at Fort Worth Meacham Airport, with about four or five employees on site, said spokesman Brian Bianco.

Bell already has vacated half of its space in a building near the Alliance Airport control tower and moved its sales and marketing, and military programs teams to its new headquarters. Workers in the other half will move to east Fort Worth next year when a new flight training academy is completed.

Bell’s space at Alliance is being taken over by BAE Systems, which has set up shop to upgrade F-16 fighter jets for South Korea and potentially other customers.

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