The city of Arlington and the Texas Rangers announced plans to replace Globe Life Park with a new “world class” stadium that will have a retractable roof and air conditioning.
Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams and Rangers co-owner Ray Davis announced this latest partnership that will keep the Rangers in Arlington through 2054. The agreement blocks efforts by the city of Dallas to lure away the Rangers from Arlington when the current agreement expires in 2024.
“The Rangers and Arlington have enjoyed a great partnership for 45 years, and we are excited about the possibility of calling this City home for many years to come,” Davis said. “A baseball park is a very special place and the Rangers are committed to providing the best possible experience for our fans.”
The Arlington City Council will consider the project along with a new private-public partnership with the Rangers at its meeting on Tuesday.
The future stadium is contingent upon the approval of Arlington voters in a Nov. 8 election to extend a half-cent sales tax that was approved to help finance Cowboys Stadium and $500 million to construction of the new stadium.
The Rangers are pledging the $500 million to the project plus any additional costs above the combined $1 billion commitment, the estimated cost of the new stadium.
“This is going to pass, it is too great of a deal for the Rangers and Arlington, and it will pass in November,” Williams said.
“The Texas Rangers are a part of our fabric, a part of our DNA,” said Williams. “The City Council and I have heard the message loud and clear: our citizens want the Texas Rangers to stay in Arlington.
“We can’t lose the Rangers,” he said. “We wanted to get this taken care of.”
The Rangers drew attendance of nearly 2.5 million, an average of 30,764 per game, in 2015. So far, attendance is averaging 32,651 per game this year.
While the project is in the earliest stages, Davis said he expects baseball to be played in the new stadium in 2021.
Although Globe Life Park is only 23 years old, the lack of climate control and a roof has been problematic for fans, made it difficult to play games during inclement weather and prevented the stadium from attracting concerts, special events and the “jewel” of professional baseball, the All-Star game, Davis said.
“The construction of a new facility with a retractable roof and so many other amenities would allow us to enhance that experience in a manner that is not presently possible,” he said.
Davis said consideration was given to putting a roof on the current stadium but the cost was prohibitive and would prevent baseball games from being played there during the construction process. He said he would prefer a “classic” design similar to the Globe Life Park with a retractable roof on top.
The new stadium will be built within the Rangers complex, south of Randol Mill Road, on the site of two current parking lots.
The Rangers are retaining part of the existing stadium but that is still unclear because it is still early in the development process. Other options include an office development, park space, additional parking lots and a possible extension of the project known as Texas Live! Construction of this entertainment and hotel complex will be built through a previously approved partnership between the city of Arlington and the Rangers at a cost of about $200 million.
The city and the Rangers recently reached an agreement on another public-private partnership, with Arlington agreeing to pay $50 million toward a project that will include 100,000 square feet of restaurant, bar and retail space, 35,000 square feet of convention space and plans for a 300-bed, high-rise luxury hotel to be built directly across from Globe Life Park.
“This state-of-the-art development will expand the city’s ability to host even more major events and conventions,” Williams said in December when the Arlington council approved the financing plan.
“This incredibly exciting announcement by the Texas Rangers and the city of Arlington is the ideal compliment to Texas Live! and our partnership’s commitment to create the leading sports and entertainment district in the United States,” said Blake Cordish, vice president of The Cordish Companies, developer of Texas Live!
Arlington voters have been supportive of stadium projects for professional sports teams in their city.
In 1991, voters approved a half-cent sales tax to help pay for Globe Life Park. That sales tax expired when the city’s $135 million debt on the ballpark was paid off in 2001, a decade ahead of schedule.
Arlington voters then approved in 2004 a half-cent sales tax, a 5 percent car rental tax and a 2 percent hotel occupancy tax to help finance the Dallas Cowboys’ $1.2 billion AT&T Stadium. The city’s portion of the stadium debt is expected to expire in 2028 but is projected to be paid off earlier than that.
“No doubt any city would want the Rangers,” Williams said. “This is where they belong and this deal keeps them here for generations to come.”
“This project is another significant investment in an Arlington economy that already has tremendous momentum,” said Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams at the time. “This state-of-the-art development will expand the city’s ability to host even more major events and conventions. We greatly appreciate the Texas Rangers’ continued investment in our community and we applaud their selection of The Cordish Companies, the premiere mixed-use developer in the country, as their development partner.