Rangers to announce new ballpark’s architect Thursday

This is a copy of artist renderings of the new Texas Rangers stadium.
This is a copy of artist renderings of the new Texas Rangers stadium.

The Texas Rangers will announce at a news conference Thursday morning which architecture firm will design the team’s new retractable-roof stadium in Arlington.

Construction on the ballpark, which is estimated to cost about $1 billion, is expected to begin later this year, according to a team press release.

The Rangers plan to have the new stadium open for the 2020 baseball season, when it will replace the team’s current home, Globe Life Park, next door.

The lease agreement adds 30 years to the end of the current lease, which expires after the 2023 season, and locks Rangers baseball in Arlington through the 2053 season.

Arlington voters on Nov. 8 overwhelmingly backed the proposal to finance up to half of the project construction costs by extending a half-cent sales tax, 2 percent hotel-occupancy tax and 5 percent car rental tax that are now paying down the city’s remaining share of the AT&T Stadium’s construction debt.

City finance officials are working on a debt restructuring plan that would allow a portion of those taxes to be redirected to begin construction on the new Rangers stadium.

According to a timeline unveiled in late November, the Rangers expect to have conceptual and schematic designs ready in the spring, and kick off a 31-month construction period in the fall.

The proposal approved by a 60-40 margin of votes also included authorization of an admission tax and parking tax of up to 10 percent and $3, respectively, that the Rangers could apply to its share of the construction costs. The ballclub has not yet announced whether it will avail itself of those revenues.

The new stadium will be immediately south of Globe Life Park, across East Randol Mill Road. The Rangers have committed to redeveloping the 22-year-old stadium, which opened as The Ballpark in Arlington in 1994.

The new stadium also will be a neighbor of the $250 million Texas Live! mixed-use entertainment and high-rise hotel complex, which broke ground in October. The entertainment and dining venues are set to open with the 2018 baseball season, followed by the hotel/convention portion later that year.

Ryan Osborne: 817-390-7684, @RyanOsborneFWST

Ray Davis, one of the two principal owners of the Texas Rangers, addresses the Vote Yes crowd Tuesday night after public funding for a new ballpark was approved (video by Jeff Wilson).