- Developers have moved the construction start schedule for the $250 million Texas Live! entertainment venue up from November and will break ground this week next to the proposed $1 billion future home of the Texas Rangers, according to the Star-Telegram.
- Texas Live! officials had made allowances in the project timetable for a long Rangers post season, as the development is across the street from the team's current home at Globe Life Park. However, the Rangers were eliminated from the playoffs earlier this month, clearing the way for construction to begin.
- Crews will start on the first $100 million stage of the development, which includes 35,000 square feet of convention and meeting space, a 350-room hotel, 200,000 square foot of dining and entertainment — opening in time for the start of the 2018 MLB season — and an outdoor pavilion. According to developer Cordish Cos. and the Rangers, the hotel, convention and meeting segments will be ready in the fall of 2018.
Still up in the air is whether Texas voters will approve the City of Arlington's $500 million contribution toward a new ballpark, a measure on November's ballot. The Rangers and Cordish have already scored $50 million in a direct grant from the Arlington City Council, and project officials maintain that the new entertainment venue can stand on its own and be a success regardless of where the Rangers play. If given the green light by voters, the money for the major financing will come from a half-cent hike in the sales tax. In addition, both the state and Arlington have agreed to refunds of hotel occupancy, property, sales and mixed beverage taxes for periods of 10 to 30 years, depending on the type of tax and whether it's levied by the city or state.
The Rangers and Cordish announced the project in May, coinciding with the Rangers' releasing of plans for a new air-conditioned ballpark with a retractable roof. Since that time, Texas Live! has seen a $50 million cost increase, primarily driven by a doubling in size of its entertainment and restaurant components. If the funding deal goes through, the Rangers-Cordish partnership will build the stadium within eyeshot of the Rangers' current field and, as part of the funding deal, will remain in Arlington until 2054.
Developers are increasingly incorporating entertainment, hotel and other such pieces into sports venues in an attempt to draw visitors and their disposable incomes on non-game days. Michael Breclaw, with FitzGerald Associates Architects in Chicago told Construction Dive in June that sports stadium owners are starting to realize that "50,000 people will want to have something to do" before and after the game as an alternative to waiting out traffic in the parking lot.