The rain let up just in time Thursday for Arlington city leaders, Texas Rangers executives and other representatives to turn dirt on a brand new stadium for the team.
Ground has officialy broken for Globe Life Field, which will be built over what was once parking Lot B along Cowboys Way. The $1.1 billion project will span 1.7 million square feet with a capacity of 41,000. The Rangers project that the stadium will open March 2020.
Former Rangers pitcher Ken Rogers was there to throw a "ceremonial first pitch" to newly minted Hall of Famer, former catcher Ivan Rodriguez.
"This is a great city to play baseball, a great city to raise kids in the area," Rodriguez said. "Doing ballparks like this, I think players probably [will] want to start making decisions to come over here and play."
Designed with materials like brick, glass and Texas limestone, the climate-controlled facility will have a retractable roof and glass windows to bring in natural light. The seating is meant to be more intimate and bring fans closer to the field, while the field itself will have an asymmetrical design.
Dallas-based HKS is serving as architect for the project, while Tulsa-based Manhattan Construction Company is the general contractor. Both companies also worked on what was then called The Ballpark in Arlington, which opened in 1994.
“We’re still not done designing,” said Ray Davis, Texas Rangers co-chairman and managing partner. “There’s two or three meetings every day going on inside our offices with Manhattan and with HKS … we’ve have a lot more work to do.”
The City of Arlington is paying up to $500 million of the cost, which Arlington voters approved last November. The Rangers will cover any overages.
The stadium will be adjacent to the Texas Live! entertainment district, a $250 million project featuring 200,000 square feet of dining, entertainment and hotel space. Ground broke for Texas Live! in March. Among the companies set to occupy Texas Live! is local brewery Revolver Brewing, which is expected to open along with the rest of the development in 2018.
The current Globe Life Park is expected to remain standing.