Rangers entertainment district plans get bigger

Rendering by The Cordish Companies

A November groundbreaking is set for the first phase of the Texas Live! entertainment district surrounding Globe Life Park in Arlington – a project bigger than the one originally planned.

The Texas Rangers and Baltimore-based real estate developer The Cordish Companies announced the plans Tuesday, which double the project’s square footage for a total of more than 500,000 square feet of dining and entertainment space. The first phase will cost $250 million, which is $50 million more than the development’s previous cost estimate. Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams said private investors paid for the additional funding.

“This is going to be the beginning of a new day in baseball,” Williams said. “This is going to be an opportunity for entertainment and baseball to come together like never before.”

With construction set to begin in November, The Cordish Companies Vice President Blake Cordish said the entertainment portion of the district should be complete by spring 2018, with the hotel complete by fall 2018.

Texas Live! will have three anchor developments: a two-level, 30,000 square-foot fan clubhouse called “Rangers Republic”; a 35,000 square-foot gathering area called the “Live! Arena,” which will have food vendors, a concert stage and other amenities; and a 5,000 square-foot outdoor event pavilion called “Arlington Backyard.” Additional plans include a hotel and convention center, which moved from being part of the second phase to being part of the first phase.

Texas Live! is part of a bigger $4 billion project, which includes the repurposing of Globe Life Park.

“The existing stadium should stay and will stay,” Cordish said. “The facade will be kept, and we’re looking at, with the Rangers, various alternatives in terms of a new life that can be reached inside the stadium. Those conclusions have not been determined.”

He said the development of Texas Live! will not be dependent on the building of a new Rangers stadium (that project is awaiting voter approval to extend the existing half-cent sales tax, used for the Dallas Cowboys’ stadium, to help pay for a new ballpark).

“We’re focused on creating a truly meaningful, inclusive development with the construction and the operations that celebrates all the inclusivity and diversity of this community,” Cordish said. “We could not be more excited.”