November 01, 2017

Here’s a bird’s-eye view as new Rangers stadium breaks ground

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Imagine heading to Globe Life Park in Arlington in a couple of years to watch the World Series — even if the Texas Rangers aren’t playing.

That vision of creating a popular gathering spot for tourists and local residents every day of the year took another step forward Wednesday with the groundbreaking for the new $150 million Live! by Loews-Arlington hotel. It will be built adjacent to the Texas Live! entertainment complex and near the Rangers new ballpark, under construction just south of Globe Life Park.

“We viewed this as more of a resort project where we envision people being here year-round and not just on game nights,” said Alex Tisch, vice president of Loews Corporation.

The 14-story, 302-room hotel will include an infinity-edge pool, and an event lawn for weddings and special events. There will also be a covered outdoor bar called Tower Terrace that will have views of the nearby stadiums and Arlington’s entertainment district.

“We think it’s going to be filled, and not just on game day,” Tisch said.

The new hotel will help link all of the Arlington stadiums, said Rob Matwick, the Rangers executive vice president for business operations. The venues will all be a short walk from the hotel and convention center.

“It’s a component that was missing between Globe Life Park and AT&T Stadium,” Matwick said. “One of the important components of any development is walkable distances.”

Texas Live!, which broke ground in March just southwest of Globe Life Park, was always planned to include a hotel but it came sooner than expected, said Blake Cordish, principal and vice president of the Cordish Companies.

Texas Live! is a mixed-use development that will contain several restaurants and bars. Its tenants include Lockhart Smokehouse and Rangers Republic, a two-level, 30,000-square-foot family dining and entertainment venue, as well as Revolver Brewing and a restaurant by celebrity chef Guy Fieri.

It is expected to open in “late summer or early fall” of 2018, Cordish said. But the entertainment portion is just the first phase of the project.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” Cordish said.

Like Tisch, Cordish said much of the planning has focused on getting people to visit when no games are taking place. That means having events at Texas Live! that will attract locals as well as hotel guests and conventioneers.

“Our focus and our passion is on those nonevent dates,” Cordish said. “That means there’s something to do at 11 in the morning and there’s something to do at 11 at night.”

The new hotel and Texas Live! will allow Arlington to convince tourists to stay longer. Adding another 2,000 hotel rooms would also help attract more meetings and conventions, said Ron Price, president and CEO of the Arlington Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“We need to build something that makes visitors stay one more day,” Price said. “That’s huge for the local economy.”

Having Loews and Texas Live! will also help attract more mega-events like the NFL Draft, which is coming to AT&T Stadium next year. Price said it isn’t just about major sporting events like the Super Bowl or Final Four but also multiday music festivals that will use both stadiums and Texas Live!

And the new Globe Life Field, with its retractable roof, will also attempt to attract new events. Ground has been cleared and holes are being dug for the new stadium.

“We’ll go after an All-Star game,” Matwick said. “We’ll go after a World Baseball Classic. If a Super Bowl comes back to AT&T Stadium, our building can help support it. It can also help support the Cotton Bowl or the College Football Playoff. That’s some of the conversations we’re having.”

But at least in the case of the College Football Playoff, the championship game won’t be coming back to Arlington, which hosted the first playoff in 2015, anytime soon.

The College Football Playoff announced sites Wednesday from 2021 through 2024. The games will be played in Miami in 2021, Indianapolis in 2022, Los Angeles in 2023 and Houston in 2024.