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Will entertainment development lead to new Rangers ballpark?

Arlington Texas Rangers development

With the city of Arlington committing at least $50 million toward an entertainment development across from Globe Life Park, one big issues arises: Is a new ballpark in the cards for the Texas Rangers?

The 100,000-square-foot, $200-million Texas Live! development in conjunction with The Cordish Companies is planned to feature entertainment venues and a new hotel designed to appeal both to Rangers fans and attendees of events at AT&T Stadium, home of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys. The Arlington financial contribution comes from the city’s Arlington Tomorrow Fund.

The agreement also includes plans to develop an upscale, full-service convention hotel with a minimum of 300 rooms and 35,000 square feet of meeting and convention facility. The development team intends to bring in a leading hotel operator and brand for the convention hotel. Bringing in The Cordish Companies isn’t surprising: the firm has worked on several sports-related entertainment districts, including Ballpark Village with the St. Louis Cardinals.

The facility will be constructed on what is currently the A parking lot at the corner of Randol Mill Road and Nolan Ryan Expressway. The location is accessible to both Globe Life Park and AT&T Stadium — and another site already controlled by Arlington and the Rangers pitched by some as the site of a new ballpark.

It’s no secret the Rangers have been looking at addressing the heat issue at Globe Life Park: for the last several years the team has looked at ways to protect fans from the hot Texas sun, including screens and other sunblockers. But in the end, there’s really only one way to protect fans from the sun, as the Cowboys and Houston Astros know: a roof.

And that’s why the talk is that a new retractable-roof ballpark could come down the line for the Rangers. Bonds on AT&T Stadium are expected to be paid off four years early, in 2021, which would free up revenue to pay down a new or renovated Rangers ballpark. The Rangers’ Globe Life Park lease ends in 2023. And while that seem really far into the future, 2021 will come sooner than we think — and given it takes at least three years of planning before a new MLB opens (and the real number is closer to five), planning could begin sooner than later.

RELATED STORIES: Mixed-use development pitched for Globe Life Park

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