As rumors continue to swirl about the Texas Rangers possibly moving to Dallas, the Arlington City Council is flexing its own muscle by unanimously approving an agreement with the team Tuesday night to build a $200 million development across the street from Globe Life Park.
Council members and other city leaders stopped short of calling the project a move to keep the Rangers in Arlington, but they repeatedly talked about the city's "long relationship" with the team during their meetings.
"I can't be more pleased that it's with our partner, the Rangers," Councilman Jimmy Bennett said. "They've been in our community and been a valuable member for so long. It just speaks volumes to our relationship. And I just think it's a mistake for people to underestimate Arlington."
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"Arlington's partnership with the Texas Rangers spans more than four decades and it's one that our residents cherish," Mayor Jeff Williams said. "The Rangers are a key component to making the Entertainment District such a vibrant part of our city and the whole North Texas region."
The 100,000-square foot complex will be built at the corner of Nolan Ryan Expressway and Randol Mill Road, where the Rangers' Parking Lot A currently sits. It will include restaurants, retail space, entertainment venues and an event space. A 300-room hotel and convention center annex will also be added to the site.
"The agreement calls for [the hotel] to be an upper upscale brand that's privately operated," City Manager Trey Yelverton said. "Comparable brands would be Westin, Sheraton, Marriott -- that classification. But the flag for this project has not been selected yet."
Under the terms of the deal, the city will contribute $50 million to the development. That money would come from the Arlington Tomorrow Foundation, which uses city oil and gas revenues to fund community projects.
"I want to clarify that there are no new taxes and there are no new increased taxes," said Yelverton. "These are existing dollars."
The Rangers would pick up the remaining $150 million tab. They'll also receive financial incentives from the city tied to the success of the hotel.
"For the more than 8 million people and visitors that come to the Arlington Entertainment District each year, this project will provide world class entertainment, restaurants, hospitality and allow our guests to come early and stay late," Rangers Executive Vice President of Business Operations Rob Matwick said. "Beyond the game, we're committed to creating a dynamic, best-in-class, 365 day-a-year destination that thrives on non-game days. With your affirmative vote tonight, the Texas Rangers are ready to deliver."
"The Rangers are proud to be joining with Arlington on this very significant project," said Rangers Co-Chairman Ray Davis in a statement. "Commercial development around Globe Life Park in Arlington has been a vision of the Rangers for a number of years. This first-class entertainment complex will be a tremendous addition to the area."
NBC 5's Holley Ford contributed to this report.