Rangers Unveil Details of Texas Live! Which Is a ... Baseball Theme Park?

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Construction on Texas Live!, the multi-faceted development slated to go up around the Rangers' ballparks, both old and new, will begin this fall, the team announced Tuesday afternoon. New details of just what will occupy the baseball-themed village were also made public for the first time.

Texas Live! is slated to cost somewhere between $200-$250 million. As much as $100 million of the money to build it will come from the city of Arlington, either through direct aid or tax breaks. The centerpiece of the project will be a destination hotel, which will open in the fall of 2018, the team said Wednesday.

The rest of the project will sound a lot like Victory Park, to anyone familiar with the neighborhood constructed around the American Airlines Center in Dallas. It just won't be located in anything approaching what one might consider a high traffic area the 284 days a year the Rangers don't have a home game scheduled.

Texas Live! will be built around what the team calls the Live! Arena, an 35,000 square foot outdoor space featuring massive TVs, a concert stage and a video ribbon board. It will be, the team says, the "living room" of the development.

The development's backyard will, appropriately, be called the Arlington Backyard, and will host 250 annual events, including concerts and art exhibits, developers said Tuesday. Texas Live! will also house 200,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space.

The non-hotel parts of the venue should be ready by Opening Day 2018, with construction beginning when the Rangers stop playing this fall.

"We're looking forward to building Texas Live!, which will begin after we win the World Series," Rangers owner Ray Davis said at a press conference.

The plan is for the development to be joined in 2021 by a new, retractable-roof covered home for the team. Pending voter approval in November, the new stadium will replace Globe Life Park, the Rangers' home since 1994. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred, in town to speak at the SMU Athletic Forum, commended Davis and the rest of the ownership group for "thinking big," and suggested that a climate-controlled park might allow the Rangers to host their first All-Star Game since 1995.

"We're going to end up with a facility here that will provide a comfortable, seasonal viewing opportunity for the fans of the Rangers as they come to see Major League Baseball and a robust entertainment opportunity that surrounds that ballpark," he said. "And there's nothing better than that."

If Arlington voters turn down the new stadium, which is slated to receive about $500 million in public money, Texas Live! will still go forward, Blake Cordish, vice president with The Cordish Companies, the developer behind the project said. 

"We would be incredibly disappointed. But the direction of the project and vision as outlined would be the same," Cordish said.

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