Rangers want Texas Live! to be ‘game-changing project’

The Baltimore-based developer that is working with the Texas Rangers and the city of Arlington on a $200 million hotel and entertainment project to be located between Globe Life Park and AT&T Stadium has similar projects from coast to coast.

At a news conference Wednesday at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Rangers and city officials said The Cordish Cos. will be the developer for a $100 million dining and entertainment venue to be called “Texas Live!” that is expected to start construction next year. Cordish will also build a 300-bed hotel and 35,000-square-foot Arlington Convention Center Annex, also at a cost of $100 million, which will be scheduled for construction later.

Cordish has led or is leading such projects as Bayou Place in the Houston theater district, Kansas City Live! in the Kansas City Power & Light District, Saint Louis Ballpark Village in conjunction with the St. Louis Cardinals, Power Plant Live! in Baltimore and the Stone Lock District in West Sacramento, Calif.

The announcements came on the heels of the City Council’s unanimous vote Tuesday night to approve the city’s $50 million contribution to the project, all of which is earmarked for Texas Live! and will be matched by the Rangers.

Cordish Vice President Blake Cordish said that his company has built more than a dozen such mixed-use/entertainment developments around the country and that they draw more than 50 million visitors annually.

The one most like the Rangers’, he said, is Ballpark Village, built in conjunction with the Cardinals. Among the similarities, Ballpark Village’s retail/entertainment complex is about 100,000 square feet and is adjacent to a major-league baseball stadium. The first phase of Ballpark Village is anchored by restaurants and watering holes like Cardinals Nation Restaurant and Bar, the Budweiser Ballpark Village at Brew House, Fox Sports Midwest Live!, PBR St. Louis-A Cowboy Bar, Howl at the Moon and Drunken Fish. The venue also features five performance stages, the largest retractable roof of its kind in the U.S., one of the biggest indoor TV screens in the Midwest and an outdoor festival space that re-creates the infield of the previous Busch Stadium in its exact former location.

Cordish has also collaborated with other major sports and entertainment brands, including NBC Sports, the Philadelphia Flyers and Professional Bull Riders.

“The Rangers challenged us to create a game-changing project, not only for the local community, not only for the region, but one that would set a new standard in the United States for a sports-anchored” mixed-use development, Cordish said. “We’re planting our flag, and we’re planting it in a huge way.”

The Texas Live! district will create about 1,000 construction jobs and 800 permanent jobs. The hotel and convention project will generate 1,000 construction jobs and 225 permanent positions, according to a news release.

The entire development is expected to generate more than $2 billion in direct and indirect salaries over the first 40 years and about $100 million in annual economic output to the city and Tarrant County.

The project had overwhelming support from those attending Tuesday’s council meeting.

“Everybody understands what this means to the future of our relationship with the Rangers and the community at large,” said former Arlington Mayor Richard Greene, who led the push to build what is now Globe Life Park. Speculation has been rampant in recent weeks on whether the Rangers will stay in Arlington at the end of their lease in 2024 or perhaps move to downtown Dallas.

The hotel rooms are sorely needed in Arlington, which now has about 6,000 of them. City officials, separately from the city-Rangers public-private partnership, are also in talks with MGM Grand about a 750-room hotel as part of a 68,000-square-foot expansion of the Arlington Convention Center, which was built in 1985 immediately north of the ballpark.

Cordish said it will focus on local residents and businesses when hiring employees and contracting for services.

“The more money we spend with local contractors and vendors, the better for our project,” said Zed Smith, chief operating officer. He added that the developer will be reaching out to colleges and high schools to talk with potential employees, especially those interested in the hospitality, real estate and management industries.

The Rangers’ development is the first of what city leaders have envisioned since the ballpark opened in 1994, said Rangers executive Rob Matwick, who serves on the boards of directors of the Texas Rangers Foundation and the Arlington Convention & Visitors Bureau.

“With the approval of the City Council [Tuesday] night,” he said, “the Rangers are ready to begin delivering on the vision.”

Robert Cadwallader: 817-390-7186, @Kaddmann_ST

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