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Play ball and just play: Rangers reveal more about Texas Live!

Plans for Texas Live!

www.texas-live.com

New stadium opponents

www.citizens4abetterarlington.com/save-our-stadium

Plans for the “Texas Live!” entertainment district in Arlington have been expanded and the cost of the development has increased by $50 million over the amount originally projected, the Texas Rangers, their development partner, the City of Arlington and Major League Baseball announced on Sept. 20.

The development partners said during a news conference that an expanded $250 million first phase of Texas Live! would break ground in November between the Texas Rangers’ Globe Life Park and the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium.

The partnership also announced that three major venues would anchor the district: Rangers Republic, Live! Arena and Arlington Backyard.

“We are honored to join our development partners, the Rangers, Mayor Jeff Williams, and [Major League Baseball] Commissioner Rob Manfred today to announce the groundbreaking, three major anchor venues and a broader vision for Texas Live!,” said Blake Cordish, vice president of The Cordish Companies, the team’s development partner. “The Rangers and Cordish are excited to increase our investment and plans for Texas Live! and are committed to developing a world-class project that will establish Arlington as the country’s capital of sports, entertainment and culture for decades to come. We look forward to breaking ground in November, immediately following what we hope to be a deep, successful postseason run for the Rangers.”

The Texas Live! project is expected to include 200,000 square feet in dining and entertainment space, an upscale convention hotel with 300-plus rooms, 35,000 square feet of meeting and convention space and an outdoor event venue.

The group said the project will bring 2,000 construction jobs as well as 1,025 permanent jobs.

The first phase will cost $250 million and will be paid for by the Rangers and Cordish. The city is contributing an additional $50 million for items such as infrastructure improvements.

Arlington voters will decide in a Nov. 8 election whether to shift a half-cent sales tax from the Dallas Cowboys’ stadium project to help pay for the new ballpark portion of Texas Live!. While Arlington voters have traditionally supported the construction of sports venues, the new plan is drawing some opposition, particularly from those who believed the current Globe Life Park was more than adequate. Now that the Rangers and city officials have said they will not tear down Globe Life Park, but instead repurpose it, many of the opponents believe that is just a tactic to blunt their opposition. The opponents have gathered some backing. On Sept. 8, the Tarrant County Republican Party passed a resolution in opposition to Arlington’s stadium plan.

Because the Texas Live! partners now say they will keep Globe Life Park, Arlington officials will have to update the master agreement between the city and the Texas Rangers that calls for the demolition of the old ballpark. Mayor Williams has indicated that should not be a problem.

Venues

At the news conference, more details were announced for three distinct venues anchoring the Texas Live! entertainment district.

Rangers Republic will be the “ultimate fan clubhouse” for Rangers fans during home games, away games and all year-round. The two-level, 30,000-square-foot family-friendly dining and entertainment venue will include interactive games, player visits and baseball and team memorabilia.

Live! Arena is planned as a multi-level facility with more than 35,000 square feet in dining and entertainment options. A 100-foot LED screen will be the centerpiece and a two-story, retractable glass facade will flow into a 10,000-square-foot outdoor beer garden. Live! Arena will also have a performance stage for concerts. It will be designed by Jeffrey Beers International.

Arlington Backyard is planned as an outdoor pavilion with space for 5,000 people that will be the “backyard” of Texas Live! Arlington Backyard will have a permanent roof and will host over 250 events annually such as cultural activities, art shows, regional and national concerts, charitable functions and community events. It will be expandable to accommodate up to 7,000 people.

The Texas Rangers and their partners also said the expanded vision of Texas Live! includes preserving and repurposing the current Globe Life Park baseball stadium. They are still looking at how to reuse the building.

“It is the Rangers’ intent to preserve the beautiful exterior façade of Globe Life Park,” said Rangers Co-Chairman Ray Davis. “We’ve been working closely with The Cordish Companies to find ways to repurpose the building. The centerfield office building is at capacity with tenants and we hope those companies will remain. Our existing retail store and the Hall of Fame space can both be used as retail spaces to support the development on the south side of Randol Mill Road.”

“As plans for the new ballpark development evolve, we believe the interior of the ballpark could be refitted for another purpose while still providing options for additional development,” Davis said. “We don’t need to have all of these answers today; we can develop the solutions while still maintaining the aesthetic and character of this beautiful building.”

The Cordish Companies, based in Baltimore, have been involved in several mixed-use/entertainment developments around the country, many of them sports-themed. The family-owned company has partnered with brands such as NBC Sports, Fox Sports Midwest, St. Louis Cardinals, AEG, PBR (Professional Bull Riders), Philadelphia Flyers and Comcast Spectacor.

According to an earlier news release from the Rangers, Texas Live! will be inspired by sports entertainment districts such as The Cordish Companies’ and St. Louis Cardinals’ Ballpark Village in St Louis, but “will be uniquely authentic to Arlington and will set a new national standard for sports-anchored districts.”

The dining and entertainment portion of Texas Live! Is expected to open in the spring of 2018 with baseball’s opening day and the hotel/convention facility would open in the fall of 2018.

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Robert Francis
Robert is a Fort Worth native and longtime editor of the Fort Worth Business Press. He is a former president of the local Society of Professional Journalists and was a freelancer for a variety of newspapers, weeklies and magazines, including American Way, BrandWeek and InformatonWeek. A graduate of TCU, Robert has held a variety of writing and editing positions at publications such as the Grand Prairie Daily News and InfoWorld. He is also a musician and playwright.

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