Once the center of downtown Fort Worth’s success, the Sundance Square plaza has been closed since the pandemic began.
This week, Sundance Square quietly reopened, partially. An employee with Sundance Square Security said Thursday that the fountain side of the plaza is open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday through Sunday.
There was not any signage showing the plaza is open again, and parts of it still were roped off. Before the pandemic, the plaza was a popular gathering spot for downtown pedestrians.
Downtown business owners contacted Thursday said they were not notified about the reopening.
Aleksandra Hasanova, who manages Istanbul Grill and Bar, 401 Throckmorton St., said she was not aware of the changes to the plaza’s operations. Business at the restaurant has been good despite the plaza being closed, she said.
“Mostly since they’ve lifted the mask restriction in Texas, it basically brought everything back,” she said. “The business is coming, people are showing up. There’s a lot of new customers. I think a lot of it has to do with Texas is a lot more relaxed with restrictions.”
She said the plaza reopening is great news and would be a positive change.
Mike Micallef, whose family owns the Reata restaurant, 310 Houston St., said he also was not informed. Micallef said the plaza’s closure has hurt his business, mostly because of parking.
“Obviously, when you look at year over year, having the plaza closed is a big negative,” he said. “And the whole valet situation and parking, the cost of parking is a big cost.
We’ve been losing parties because they’re coming at lunch, and they don’t want people to have to pay to find their own parking or the cost of the valet is exorbitant, especially when you compare us to our competition.”
With the street-level parking lot being closed, he said, people don’t want to host lunchtime events at the restaurant because people either can’t find parking or the cost is too high.
The actual cost of the losses to the restaurant is hard to calculate, Micallef said. But it is still felt.
Andy Taft, president of Downtown Fort Worth Inc., said in a written statement Friday that downtown is open for business, dining and shopping.
“The opening of Sundance Plaza is an important addition to the amenity mix and a message that people are welcome,” Taft said. “Steps taken in that direction are positive. We are spreading the word.”
Kristen Barton is an enterprise reporter for the Fort Worth Report. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org