The Arlington City Council voted Tuesday to approve an $810 million expansion of the city's Entertainment District, which would include another Lowe's hotel and a new convention center.
The expansion will feature two components. The first is the $550 million Loews Arlington Hotel, which would be connected to a new convention center. The others are mixed-use developments for corporate offices, residences and parking.
The proposed 888-room hotel, Loews Arlington, will be built on the northwest corner of Randol Mill Road and Nolan Ryan Expressway, across the street from Globe Life Park. Adjacent to the hotel would be a 150,000-square-foot, publicly-owned convention center and a parking facility for 1,500 vehicles.
Both the convention center and Loews Arlington will connect to the Live! by Loews hotel across Randol Mill Road by a pedestrian skybridge, bringing nearly 1,200 rooms and over 180,000-square-feet of meeting and convention space under one roof.
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Some of that new convention space, developers said, will be developed in the existing underground parking area of Globe Life Park.
Supporters said they hoped the additional rooms would not only allow the city to book more group meetings and convention business the CVB said they're missing out on, but would allow AT&T Stadium, Globe Life Field and the eSports Stadium/Convention Center to maximize their annual event booking.
"According to a lost business report produced by the Arlington Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, Arlington lost 176,181 room nights in hotels between November 2018 and November 2019 – an opportunity cost of $16 million," supporters said in a city staff report.
The developer, Lowes, will advance fund the project provided there are rebates for the next three decades.
The developer requested "the city provide performance-based rebates equal to the amount of taxes generated by the hotel project in the following areas for 30 years following initial occupancy:
- City and state hotel occupancy tax
- City and state sales tax
- City and state mixed beverage tax
- The developer requests the city provide an annual rebate equal to 50% of the total amount of ad valorem taxes paid by the developer for the project for a period of 30 years.
- The developer is requesting an annual reimbursement of $1-1.5 million for the publicly-owned parking facility until $25 million has been reimbursed.
- The city will provide a one-time grant of $10 million to help cover the cost of converting underground parking at Globe Life Park to exposition space.
- The city will set aside $150 million over 30 years, $500,000 per year, from hotel occupancy taxes to provide for maintenance at the publicly-owned convention center. The developer will perform annual maintenance and updates at its expense.
Reimbursement payments will be paid from available increment from Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ) Number 5. A TIRZ takes the increase in tax revenue created by a development within a defined area and then reinvests those funds into improvements and projects that benefit that zone.
TIRZ Number 5, in Arlington, was created Dec. 19, 2006 to develop Glory Park -- a 2,100 acre area around the ballpark and Cowboys Stadium, according to county records.
Development of the hotel and convention center is expected to begin next month and be completed sometime in 2023.
The City Council also approved a public-private partnership with the Cordish Companies to build out 200,000-square-feet of office space inside the southwest corner of Globe Life Park. The city will make a one-time $11 million contribution to the project while Cordish will put forth about $200 million provided there are rebates paid until 2052 (when the TIRZ expires). Additional funding will come from nearly $50 million in bonds, $33 million for a parking structure and $17 million for public improvements.
The office project will not move forward until there is a tenant. In October, it was revealed that Grand Prairie-based Six Flags Over Texas may be moving into office space at Globe Life Park. An incentive package was created that would reimburse the company up to $6 million to make renovations.
Six Flags had no comment in October, and has not confirmed it since, but should the deal be finalized they'd become the third tenant to announce plans to move into the ballpark behind the XFL's Dallas Renegades and USL League One's North Texas Soccer Club -- an affiliate of FC Dallas.