If past is prologue, Arlington is set for a banner year in 2018.
I’m sure there are other communities with projects and prospects of consequence, but I know of none the size of Arlington with the magnitude of what’s underway in what city leaders are proud to say is America’s Dream City.
Among the work in progress — most of which will celebrate ribbon cuttings throughout this new year — there is almost $3.5 billion of investment in 10 big projects that will provide thousands of jobs and drive the city’s economy for years to come.
Scheduled to be finished by year’s end is the $1.4 billion expansion of the GM plant, where Tahoes, Suburbans, Yukons and Escalades are rolling off the assembly line at the rate of one every 58 seconds.
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As the global source for full-size SUVs, the enlargement to the plant will come with the addition of more than 500 new jobs to join those now working three shifts throughout every 24-hour day.
Across the highway on the site of the former Six Flags Mall, construction is on schedule for the completion of the Arlington Automotive Logistic Center — a $250 million project bringing suppliers for the GM plant to the city and providing 850 new jobs.
Fifteen minutes from the big automotive center you can see the super structure of Texas Live! taking shape, which adds another $250 million of development activity to the mix of things to come in 2018.
A centerpiece of that project is the Live! by Loews $150 million hotel, which will bring an upscale hospitality experience to the Arlington Entertainment District.
The combination of the sports-themed dining, entertainment and hotel complex brings about 2,000 construction jobs to the city and a resulting 1,025 permanent jobs upon completion.
Adjacent to all of that construction activity is work underway on Globe Life Field, the $1.1 billion new home for the Texas Rangers Baseball Team. While not scheduled for completion until 2020, we will get a good look at the magnitude of the Major League’s finest new ballpark as it takes shape.
Near the intersection of State Highway 360 and Interstate 20 and next door to the new Summit Racing project, work is underway on the $100 million Arlington Commerce Center, which will welcome United Parcel Service’s regional hub early next year.
That move will bring an estimated 1,400 full-time jobs and fill one of the city’s largest warehouse/industrial spaces.
The cranes in the sky over UT-Arlington should finish work on two major projects changing the face of the university — again.
By next fall we should see the completion of the 220,000-square-foot Science and Engineering Innovation and Research Building. The UT System has invested $125 million in the new modern glass and steel structure moving the teaching and research achievements of the university to new heights.
More than $50 million is being invested on the west side of the campus in a complex that includes a new residence hall, dining hall and parking garage.
The new $22 million George W. Hawkes Downtown Library will swing open its doors to 80,000 square feet of modern design, the latest technology and invaluable public programming to meet the needs of a growing and diverse population.
Included in that project is a new City Council chamber — the place where you can witness and participate in the continued upward mobility of a city on the move.
There’s more, of course — lots more across the vibrant city. It’s the cornerstone of the city’s legacy to keep moving ever forward.
It would seem that claim of America’s Dream City is fully justifiable.
Richard Greene is a former Arlington mayor and served as an appointee of President George W. Bush as regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency.