When Arlington Convention and Visitors Bureau President Ronnie Price looks out the window of his Entertainment District office, he sees Globe Life Park and a lot of parking lots – not much else.
It’s why he’s thrilled that a little more than a year from now, he and everyone who comes through the area will have something new and big to look at and visit.
“We always talk about what are the types of developments that we can build that will, number one, attract a visitor to Arlington and then keep them an extra day,” said Price. “The Entertainment District is in need of this type of live entertainment venue.”
The Texas Rangers and the City of Arlington are teaming up to build a $200 million development called “Texas Live!” across the street from Globe Life Park. It will be home to restaurants, stores, event space and eventually, a hotel.
“This is a game changer for Arlington,” said Price. “I’ll be there all the time, absolutely.”
During a Tarrant Regional Transportation Coalition meeting Wednesday, Rangers Executive Vice President of Business Operations Rob Matwick told local leaders they’re focused on making “Texas Live!” a year-round destination, revealing new details on how they hope to achieve that.
“The Arlington Entertainment District had previously been called the "Entertainment Capital of Texas,” said Matwick. “In talking to the city, we feel like maybe we’ve lost a little bit of that luster. So we think “Texas Live!” is the first step in getting that back.”
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He says the project’s developer, The Cordish Companies, is third only to AEG and Live Nation in terms of booking live entertainment -- and would bring live music to the venue on a regular basis.
They’d also organize special events similar to those they host at venues they developed in St. Louis, Kansas City, Philadelphia and Baltimore – events like New Year’s Eve parties and official team watch parties.
Matwick said the Rangers would be interested in working with the Cowboys, the Dallas Wings, UTA and community groups to bring events to “Texas Live!” as well.
“The community aspect of it is very important to us,” said Matwick. “We’ll look for opportunities to give non-profits or community groups that maybe can’t afford a bigger venue a place to come and do their events, and do them at a world class destination.”
Matwick said they’re currently in the process of hiring an architect and plan to have discussions in the coming months about potential tenants. Their goal is to break ground on the project in Spring 2016 and have it ready to open for the 2017 baseball season.
With the Rangers’ lease at Globe Life Park set to expire in 2024, just seven years after “Texas Live!” goes live, many have questioned whether the project is some kind of commitment on the team’s part to stay in Arlington.
Matwick told reporters they’re not ready to discuss those decisions and that their primary focus is on “Texas Live!” as well as the upcoming season. He did, however, cite the team’s “great relationship” with Arlington as the reason for pressing forward with “Texas Live!”.
“Arlington has been our home for more than 40 years,” said Matwick. “It’s a place where we believe we have great traction with our partners, the Cowboys and Six Flags. We think we can enhance it. We’re looking for an opportunity to give people more to do than just come to the ball game.”
Price says “Texas Live!” can’t hurt in those negotiations.
“Keeping the Rangers in Arlington is a priority,” said Price. “We see this as a great first step.”