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O.K. Carter: Final-prep push is on to finish Loews hotel for its debut

Lots of details that hotel guests take for granted all must be completed by the first day of business for Live! by Loews in the Arlington Entertainment District.

Live! by Loews Managing Director Scott Nassar likes to begin tours of the new Arlington hotel on the 14th floor in the Presidential Suite, which indeed is a suitably impressive place to start.

The condo-size suite looks westward, dominated by the Cowboys’ massive AT&T Stadium a block away, beyond which the skyline of Fort Worth is visible.

Slip over to the Vice Presidential Suite – it’s only small condo size – on the east side and the view shifts.

The Dallas skyline looms in the distance, but it’s more about proximity to the looming under-construction Globe Life Field and the adjacent Texas Live!, beyond which at night all sorts of lighted Six Flags rides make it appear as if some sort of permanent festival is under way, which, in a way, it is.

Given appropriate grandiose architectural scale and design, the idea seems to be that attractions and skylines wrapped around a winding creek and small lake in the midst of what was and still is Texas prairie constitutes both an interesting view and a multi-day destination.

Indeed, every room has floor-to-ceiling windows, the better to look-see. Since the city’s Entertainment District expects north of 15 million visitors this year, the concept clearly has evidence of merit.

“I think we see the hotel as much as a one-stop-for-all sports recreation resort as hotel,” says Nassar, who with Marketing Director Marcela Ceccacci has been conducting hard-hats-and-safety-glasses tours of the building for small groups. The safety precautions are necessary because the whole $150-million structure is filled with workers making frantic final preparations for the first day of guests and a grand opening – both not far away at Aug. 22.

It seems unlikely that everything will come together in time, though Nassar insists it will be so.

From the 14th floor, for instance, a view of ground level reveals the future infinity pool, water feature, flaming attraction, Johnson Creek overlook lawn and poolside bar are holes in the ground or just under construction. And it’s July 31, three weeks out.

But Nassar and Ceccacci say all will be well. That, in fact, construction will wrap up Aug. 12, given them 10 days to apply final finishing touches on the 300-room hotel.

“We’re going room to room with the punch list (a check-off of amenities) and we’re up to the eighth floor,” Ceccacci says. “When the work crew leaves at night, we spend another six hours prepping the rooms.”

That task itself is formidable – every room with phones, beds, linens, TV, shampoo, coffee makers, safes and myriad other assets guests expect and about which give little thought at all.

Then there are supporting services, like three levels of Wi-Fi. Or four restaurants. Or valet service (all parking will be via valets). Or a concierge operation that will link guests to other Metroplex amenities, and will also provide tickets to Cowboys, Rangers or XFL games. Or security, which is extensive and high-tech.

“Setting up just the meeting spaces is a craft by itself,” Nassar said of the hotel’s 35,000-square–foot-convention and meetings area, capable itself of hosting 1,000-person groups.

It’ll all come together, he says, very nicely – but by no means easily – by opening day.

O.K. Carter is a former editor and publisher of the Arlington Citizen-Journal and was also Arlington publisher and columnist for the Star-Telegram and founding editor of Arlington Today Magazine. He’s the author of the definitive book on Arlington’s colorful history, Caddos, Cotton and Cowboys: Essays on Arlington.

okcarter@bizpress.net

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