December 17, 2019

Arlington gives go-ahead to ambitious $810 million hotel, convention center

Developers could break ground as early as 2020 on the new hotel, convention center, office and residential projects.

An ambitious hotel and convention center project in Arlington’s evolving entertainment district is getting the go-ahead from city leaders.

The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to move forward with incentive agreements that will put a $550 million Loews hotel and an attached 150,000-square-foot convention center in motion. The 880-room hotel would be more than twice the size of a Live! by Loews hotel that recently opened across the street.

The plan also includes a $200 million residential and office project called Stadium Lofts that Cordish Companies would build at the Texas Rangers’ former ballpark.

The city will provide an initial, one-time $11 million grant toward the Cordish project. It’ll also issue $49.6 million in bonds to build an attached 1,900-space parking facility that’ll be city-owned, according to council documents. The hotel developer will be eligible for tax rebates for the next 30 years.

The public-private partnership totals $810 million in investment. That builds on an entertainment district now anchored by a $250 million Texas Live! complex and $150 million Live by Loews! hotel. Texas Live! includes a multilevel sports bar, restaurants and a 5,000-seat concert venue.

Representatives of Loews Hotels & Co. and Cordish Companies praised the city for partnering with them in Arlington’s years-long search for an updated convention center and entertainment district amenities. Loews Hotels & Co. will fund the hotel and convention center construction using private equity and debt.

Plans for the convention center, which will be publicly owned, include nearly 1,200 rooms and more than 180,000 square feet of meeting space. Arlington expects to cease operating the current 85,000-square-foot convention center once the new one opens. Its employees will be moved into new jobs within the city.

With the Texas Live entertainment complex and Live! by Loews hotel now open, Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams said this is the right time for the city to welcome further investment in the entertainment district.

Before Tuesday’s vote, Cordish Companies principal Reed Cordish showed renderings of the Stadium Lofts project that will be adjacent to Texas Live. It’ll include 280 residential units, retail, restaurants and a business incubator called Spark. The coworking space will be modeled after one Cordish built in Baltimore that includes more than 150 companies, according to the company.

“Here in Arlington, we really want to be that glue – that work, live, play,” said Shervonne Cherry, Spark’s director of community and partnerships.

The city estimates the entertainment district project will create more than 3,000 jobs, $3.9 billion in taxable sales and $2.8 billion in lodging sales over 30 years. It could be completed as early as 2023.

City Council members lauded the benefits of the development as a tax revenue generator that would eventually bolster city services like parks and police.

"When people ask you about ‘couldn’t we invest those dollars another way?,’ the answer is those dollars simply don’t exist without this project,” said City Manager Trey Yelverton.

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