UTA Development Aims to Improve City Life

By Christine Nicholson
|  Friday, Feb 18, 2011  |  Updated 3:30 PM CDT
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Gallery: UTA College Park District

The University of Texas at Arlington

Photo of The Green under construction at the University of Texas at Arlington's new College Park District.

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During the Super Bowl, some out-of-town guests complained about the lack of city life in Arlington. The University of Texas at Arlington hopes to revive the city’s downtown area by constructing the new College Park District.

The $80 million residential and retail development began construction last year and will span over 20 acres on the northeastern edge of UTA. In this partnership project, the City of Arlington committed up to $18 million toward its parking structures.

“Anyone who drives south on Center Street through the heart of our city can see it:  Something big is happening,” said UTA president James Spaniolo in a press release. “Together, we are shaping Arlington into a true college town.”

To the north, the district includes 1.5 acres donated by First Baptist Church of Arlington. The area will be used for three parking garages with 1,800 total spaces to be shared amongst students, church goers and visitors to other downtown venues. Two of the three parking garages are expected to be ready this August.

Moving away from UTA's commuter school image, the east and west side of the district will lodge four-story housing structures designed to hold about 600 students. Slated to open next summer, the areas include 81 new apartment units and a mixed-used residence hall space that will accommodate retail suites on the street-level. Retail tenants are yet to be named. Staubach Retail Services and its affiliates have been contracted to identify potential retail store and restaurant partners.

Already completed on the corner of Mitchell and Center Street in the south portion of the district, The Green at College Park is an outdoor pedestrian plaza which was designed by the city for students and the community to gather and relax.

Next to the plaza, College Park Center serves as the pinnacle of the district.  The $78 million, 218,000 square foot events venue will seat 6,600 fans for UTA sporting events and over 7,000 for concerts, commencements and community events, according to Bill Amendola, the Senior Project Manager for UT System's Offices of Facilities Planning and Construction.

Amendola says the split-level arena will allow sports fans to sit "right on top of the players." College Park Center is scheduled to open this December.  You can view real-time progress of this site at their live webcam.

College Park District complements redevelopment  now being realized to revive Arlington city life.  Just a few blocks away are other new developments in the downtown area including UTA's 234,000 square foot Engineering Research Building and the Levitt Pavilion for Performing Arts.

“College Park will play a critical role in building the life of our city – it will be a living and shopping destination, and also provide critical parking support for major downtown events,” said Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck, in a prepared statement.

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