Construction on the Texas Rangers' new $1 billion ballpark in Arlington, TX, is scheduled to start next week, according to the Star-Telegram.
Crews will begin with utility work and should be able to move on to excavation in September. The stadium is scheduled for completion in time for the start of the 2020 Major League Baseball season.
The retractable-roof venue will be built near the team's current home at Globe Life Park, so construction-related road and parking lot closures are expected to affect those traveling around and to the existing stadium.
While the Rangers' ownership is shooting for a modern ballpark — complete with air conditioning, a desireable amenity for hot Texas summers — fans made it clear in a survey late last year on the team's website that they desired comfort but wanted the new stadium to be close, aesthetics-wise, to the old one.
Whatever the design, Arlington residents committed to the new ballpark when they voted last November to help finance its construction. Voters approved a $500 million city bond package that will be repaid over 30 years through a 0.05-cent sales tax increase, a 2% hotel tax, a 5% car rental tax, a 10% ticket tax and a maximum $3 parking tax. The Rangers are paying the other $500 million required, plus any cost overruns.
The city is kicking in as much as $100 million for the Texas Live! complex next door to the new field. Construction on that project is underway, and developers said the project's dining and entertainment spaces could be ready in time for the 2018 MLB season. When complete, it will feature 35,000 square feet of convention space, a 300-room hotel and 100,000 square feet of entertainment and retail. Visitors to Texas Live! will also be able to see the Rangers play in their new ballpark from the entertainment complex's courtyard.
Not every team has the support that the Rangers do — and that includes the former San Diego Chargers. In November, San Diego voters rejected a tax-increase measure, which would have helped pay for a new stadium and convention center and that the Chargers said was a condition for keeping the team there. After the vote and some failed negotiations with the city, the team decided to relocate to Los Angeles, where the Chargers will share the new $2.6 billion Los Angeles Rams stadium.