Deal of the Year: 'Next-generation' ballpark takes top prize at Best Real Estate Deals Awards

Thousands of fans will come to Globe Life Park to watch the Texas Rangers play ball this season. And as they walk into the stadium, fans won’t be able to miss a major development going on just across the street.

The Texas Rangers, the City of Arlington, The Cordish Companies and several other firms have joined forces for a project they hope will transform the region: Texas Live!

“It has been a dream for Arlington to further develop our entertainment district with projects just like Texas Live! and its upscale, adjoining hotel,” said Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams at the district’s ground breaking last year. “Texas Live! is more than just an entertainment destination. It’s a catalyst development for Arlington that will help take our community to the next level.”

When finished, those involved with developing the entertainment district hope that the added restaurants, luxury hotel and, of course, a state-of-the-art baseball stadium will entice the thousands of North Texans that attend Rangers games to come earlier and stay later.

The new stadium for the Rangers will be the anchor of the development. The stadium, which will be called Globe Life Field, will cost an estimated $1.1 billion to build and is expected to open March 2020.

Those involved in the project have big plans for the 1.7 million square-foot venue.

“We really wanted to create the first next generation ballpark,” said Bryan Trubey, executive vice president and director of sports and entertainment for Dallas-based HKS Inc., which designed the new ballpark. “We didn’t want to design another incremental ballpark, but make an epic and game-changing improvement.”

The design of the new stadium is meant to compliment, not copy, the Rangers’ current facility. The new stadium will have a capacity of 41,000 people and will also be built from limestone and brick from the Lone Star state.

While those overseeing construction of the park want to keep the open-air feel, one of the big draws of the new stadium will be a retractable roof that can shield players and fans from the harsh Texas sun, especially during those summer day games. A retractable roof will also allow the Rangers to host some massive events outside of baseball games. 

When team leadership was deciding how to design the new stadium, they had to consider what fans are demanding now that they weren’t when the current stadium, Globe Life Park, opened in 1994. 

As fans get up out of their seats during or in between innings, they are usually closed off from the action on the field. The new stadium will attempt to remedy that problem.

“All of our concession stands and restrooms, all of our services if you will, are pushed to the outer concourse. And that was something we didn’t do in the design here at Globe Life Park,” said Rob Matwick, executive vice president of Business Operations for the Rangers. “And the advantage to that is when you’re walking around the concourse, even though you may be up out of your seat you still have a view back to the field.

“When you come up on our concourse today, you really lose track of what’s going on in the field. You hear the roar of the crowd and you have no idea what happened unless you’re close to a TV monitor somewhere,” Matwick added. “So, both on the main concourse and the upper concourse in the new ballpark, we’ve designed that circulation to be 360 degrees around the building which keeps fans connected.”

The new ballpark has begun to take shape this spring, as toward the end of February construction workers began to pour the first 725 structural concrete columns.

In the last five months, 1.3 million cubic yards of dirt has been excavated from the 13-acre future site of the venue. That translates to about 97,000 truckloads. 

One of the biggest components that separates the Texas Live! development from other Live! projects around the country is the inclusion of a 300-room hotel — Live! by Loews — during the initial phase of construction. 

Tourism is the big reason why the hotel is being built now, said Jim Watry, chief operating officer of Texas Live! Watry has been with Baltimore-based development firm the Cordish Companies for 11 years. Cordish is the firm that’s teaming up with the Rangers to make Texas Live! a reality. 

“We saw in St. Louis when we opened up four years ago, the hotels’ occupancy went up because people had enough to stay in town,” Watry said. “And I think here, too, you’ve got lots of great reasons to come to Arlington. Texas Live! will be another reason. I think people will extend their stay and stay a little longer.”

Construction on the $150 million Live! by Loews hotel got underway in November. The hotel is scheduled to open in 2019 and will stand 14 stories tall. 

The hotel will include a veranda-style terrace that will serve as the central gathering place, an outdoor infinity pool with two bars and a private rooftop terrace for events overlooking the district. Fort Worth-based Revolver Brewing Brewery — makers of the popular Blood & Honey beer — will have a bar and tasting room at the hotel, too.

Another key component of the hotel will be a two-story, 35,000 square-foot event center with a grand ballroom that will hold up to 1,500 people.  

“What it does is create an opportunity for the city to attract larger events, more conventions,” said Zed Smith, chief operating officer of the Cordish Companies. “The whole purpose of this development is to position Arlington as a world class destination for conventions and visitors. I think by adding Loews now, it kind of enhances the pace of all that. Another key component of the Texas Live! development is the restaurants that will populate the entertainment district.”

And it’s Texas, so you have to have BBQ. Last spring, Lockhart Smokehouse announced it chose Texas Live! for its third location in Dallas-Fort Worth. To accommodate the anticipated thousands of hungry patrons before and after games, the Arlington location will be the restaurant’s largest concept yet.

“I think we’re thinking about four or five pits,” said Lockhard co-owner Jill Bergus. The restaurant’s other two locations in Plano and the Bishop Arts District in Dallas each have two pits for cooking meat.

Famed chef and television personality Guy Fieri will also open a concept unique to the development. Fieri has been mum on what kind of food his place will serve. 

Multiple firms are helping bring Texas Live! to life. The Cordish Companies and the Rangers selected Manhattan Construction Company and Arlington-based Con-Real to take on construction of the project. 

Additionally, Hord Coplan Macht, Jeffrey Beers International, Mycoskie+Mcinnis+Associates., and McLaren Engineering Group will lead the architecture, interior design, civil engineering, and structural engineering, respectively.


Rob Matwick, Texas Rangers Baseball Club
Blake Cordish and Zed Smith, The Cordish Cos.
Jeff Williams and Trey Yelverton, City of Arlington

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