Home of the Texas Rangers for 43 years, Arlington is banking to keep them for years to come.
The City Council will vote Tuesday on a $200 million deal for the Rangers to build and share a 300-room hotel and shops next to Globe Life Park in Arlington.
To use a baseball term, the city and Rangers are playing small ball. If they can get to first base with a deal that drives revenue for the Rangers and gives them a reason to stay in Arlington, then both partners can work on a home run agreement for a new indoor stadium.
With big-money Dallas developers shopping for a baseball bauble to add to the other new jewels in that downtown, Arlington is racing to keep the only major-league team ever with its home office in Tarrant County.
The Rangers’ lease runs out after the 2023 season, but the team apparently is willing to sign on as majority partner in the 100,000-square-foot hotel-retail development without a final stadium deal.
In the team’s formal statement, spokesman John Blake said only that the team is “pleased” Arlington is considering the offer.
He also confirmed that the city’s sketches include the Rangers’ logo with permission.
To me, that shows the team is serious about the deal.
City officials played coy Saturday, but former Mayor Richard Greene, a weekly Star-Telegram editorial columnist, emailed that the plans are “true to Arlington’s legacy of seizing the opportunity to make big dreams come true.”
He’s talking about General Motors, Six Flags Over Texas, the Rangers, Cowboys and AT&T Stadium.
But the plans are also true to Arlington’s legacy of sharing good business deals that build the city. Heck, the city used to own the stadium concession and broadcast contracts. Partnering up for a hotel isn’t off-base.
The city would invest $50 million as its share, according to a brief announcement Friday.
(By comparison, Dallas sold $400 million in bonds to build and own the Omni hotel.)
The hotel work would have to start next year, by which time there presumably would be a stadium deal.
Team officials have said they’re interested in a dome. Texas summers aren’t getting any cooler, and we’re all more sun-averse than we were when the Ballpark opened in 1994.
Right now, Arlington just wants to cool the talk in Dallas.