Arlington: Council OKs $810M Mixed-Use Expansion in Entertainment District
Featured Illustration (above): The public-private partnership that has resulted in the construction of the Texas Rangers’ new home, Globe Life Field (left background), now plans to develop Loews Arlington Hotel and an attached convention center (center, right). AT&T Stadium the Dallas Cowboys’ home stadium, is in the right background. Image: HKS
By Edmond Ortiz
Arlington (Tarrant County)–City Council voted Dec. 17 to approve a massive expansion in the entertainment district that allows the development of an 888-room hotel, a publicly owned 216,000-square-foot convention center, a 200,000-square-foot corporate office building, and a mixed-use building.
The council’s vote commits the city to a 30-year public-private partnership on a project that launches a new phase of economic development that began with the construction of Globe Life Field, the Texas Rangers’ new home stadium, and the adjacent Texas Live! entertainment and dining complex and Live! by Loews Hotel.
The partnership includes the Rangers, Loews Hotels & Co., a subsidiary of New York City-based Loews Corp., and the Cordish Cos., a Baltimore-based company that is responsible for different kinds of real estate developments, including residential, coworking spaces, and entertainment/dining venues.
The expansion would bring these partners’ total investment in Arlington to more than $1 billion, aside from the financial support provided by the city of Arlington and other local governments.
The planned $550 million Loews Arlington Hotel will include two restaurants with outdoor terraces, two bars, a coffee shop, an 8,000-square-foot swimming pool with 18 cabanas, a children’s play area, a fitness center, and a spa with six treatment rooms.
A 1,500-space parking structure will connect the hotel with a new Arlington Convention Center, which will add to the central business district 150,000 square feet of interior meeting space and 66,000 square feet of exterior function/event space.
The street view of the planned Arlington Convention Center. Image: HKS
Loews Arlington Hotel will be linked to the new Live! by Loews Hotel by a pedestrian skybridge. Additionally, Loews Arlington will connect to new exposition space that will be developed in the existing underground parking area of Globe Life Park, the Rangers now-former home, via the reuse of the current underground tunnel link.
The entertainment district expansion includes a multi-story 280-unit residential building with 100,000 square feet of retail and entertainment space, as well as the Spark coworking and incubator space for small businesses.
The corporate building will be located on the southwest corner of the current Globe Life Park parking lot. The city plans to extend a $11 million lump-sum grant toward this specific building, which also will be funded with $200 million from Cordish and additional city bond money.
Development of the office/residential complex will not start until an anchor tenant is found. There’s also plans to develop a separate 1,900-space public parking garage as part of the expansion.
Loews Hotels will use private equity and debt to fund all of the expansion, but the city is pledging to extend performance-based rebates totaling $50 million over the next 30 years in exchange for city and state hotel occupancy, sales and mixed-beverage taxes generated at the new hotel and convention center. The city will also make a $10 million lump-sum payment for the conversion of the underground exposition space.
The partners expect to complete the new hotel, convention center and parking space projects by 2023, beginning in the first quarter of 2020. Dallas architecture firm HKS has provided preliminary renderings of the new hotel and convention center.
The private-public partnership–initially focused on the redevelopment of the Rangers’ home–has become a way to further provide downtown Arlington with much-needed meeting and hospitality space.
The city reportedly lost out on an estimated $16 million worth of hotel occupancies between November 2018 and November 2019, the Arlington Convention and Visitors Bureau recently stated.
“It’s another great day in Arlington, as we continue to build on the economic momentum in our world-class entertainment district,” Mayor Jeff Williams said in a news release.
“This project and the recent National Medal of Honor Museum will add significantly to the city’s sales tax revenue, allow us to continue to keep our taxes among the lowest in the area and provide the quality services our residents have come to expect with minimal public investment.”
Texas Live!, a new dining and entertainment venue next to the new Live! at Loews hotel, opened last summer as part of the development of the new Globe Life Field. Image: Loews Hotels & Co.
Other project partners chimed in, saying the expansion will only boost Arlington’s profile as an economic generator and a business, sports and tourism destination.
“As an owner and operator, Loews Hotels has the advantage of deciding when and where we build hotels. For us to invest significant capital in the new $550 million Loews Arlington Hotel, demonstrates our belief in the great city of Arlington, Texas,” Jonathan Tisch, chairman and CEO, Loews Hotels & Co., said in the release.
“We look forward to continuing our partnership with the city, The Texas Rangers and the Cordish Companies, and are confident that with the addition of Loews Arlington, the destination will receive national prominence and recognition for hotels and lodging as AT&T Stadium and Globe Life Field did for sports and entertainment.”
“It is an honor for the Cordish Companies to continue our partnership with the city of Arlington, the Texas Rangers and Loews Hotels & Co. to deliver a transformative project for Arlington,” Blake Cordish, Cordish Cos. principal, added in the release.
“Loews is one of the preeminent hoteliers in North America and a leader in the convention and meetings industry. The expansion of Arlington’s entertainment district, anchored by the new Loews Arlington Hotel and Arlington Convention Center, will create a vibrant mixed-use development and will cement Arlington as one of the leading premier sports, entertainment, culture, hospitality and tourism destinations in the country.”
Plans for the existing Globe Life Park call for that venue to be renovated and turned into a multipurpose venue that will accommodate football and soccer, as well as special events and some new office space.
Edmond Ortiz is a lifelong San Antonian and a 20-plus-year veteran in local journalism, He previously worked full-time at the San Antonio Express-News, and has been freelancing for outlets such as the Rivard Report.