Richard Greene

Six Flags headquarters deal shows Arlington has plenty to celebrate

Those in attendance at Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams’ State of the City address last Wednesday must have come away with a realization that the community of 400,000 has never had more to celebrate than it does in the current era of the city’s history.

To that, the mayor said: “Stay tuned. There’s more to come.”

This year’s report was highlighted by the announcement that the Six Flags Entertainment Corp. will be moving its world headquarters into Globe Life Park.

Six Flags will enter into a 15-year lease for more than 40,000 square feet of space and will maintain a workforce of 120 in the offices once occupied by the Texas Rangers Baseball Club.

It’s a compelling bit of the city’s history to reflect, for a moment, on Six Flags’ origins when the park opened in 1961. Interestingly, when real estate developer Angus Wynne Jr. came up with the idea to create the park as a stop-gap initiative to support his fledgling industrial center, he considered it to be a temporary development.

His plans were to keep the entertainment complex going for just a few years to produce badly needed cash flow for his larger vision of a sprawling business complex along the new Dallas-Fort Worth Turnpike.

The attractions there turned out to be far more successful than imagined. Arlington became a destination for people throughout the country.

Today, the Six Flags corporate conglomerate operates 26 theme, water and animal parks in North America, welcoming about 32 million guests annually.

Now, the company’s headquarters will operate just across the street from that “temporary” park that will soon celebrate its 60th anniversary.

The outcome of the negotiations between the city and Six Flags takes a big step in preserving and transforming the facility for its future. Already, the XFL’s Dallas Renegades are preparing to kick off their inaugural season, in February.

Together with the USL’s North Texas Soccer Club, which will play their home games there, the old ballpark remains viable as the Rangers open play in their new, air-conditioned Globe Life Field across the street in March.

Williams spoke from a podium inside the country’s largest Esports center, which will host the upcoming Esports awards convention that was held in London last year.

With the addition of the new domed ballpark, Texas Live!, the new Live! by Loews Hotel, and AT&T Stadium, Arlington’s booming entertainment district expects to welcome a record 17 million visitors to the city next year.

The recent decision by the Medal of Honor Foundation to open its new museum in the midst of current attractions and plans for a second major hotel and convention center moving forward, Arlington’s tourism industry will continue to set new milestones driving many millions of dollars in revenue into city coffers.

Beyond the entertainment district, the mayor described how the city’s other enterprise zones continue to expand. Downtown resurgence can claim its own record-setting growth, the Interstate 20 corridor has become the city’s largest jobs center, and the Virdian mixed use development on the city’s North side is creating a $2.5 billion boost to the city’s tax base.

Not overlooking some small but proud achievements, Williams announced that 27,000 potholes have been repaired since the city launched its promise to fill them within three days of a call from citizens to report a needed fix.

The mayor’s report carried a new theme of “We Can, We Do” — a boast that is backed up by record-setting results that can’t be denied.

Richard Greene is a former Arlington mayor, served as an appointee of President George W. Bush as regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency and lectures at UT Arlington.
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