The city of Arlington, Texas, is getting creative with its finances as it shuffles around some debt to pay for a new $1B Texas Rangers stadium.
According to a report from the Star-Telegram, which examined documents approved at a June 27 City Council meeting, Arlington is set to use a half-cent sales tax, 2 percent hotel tax and 5 percent car-rental tax to fund up to $500 million of the Rangers' new stadium. The Rangers have agreed to carry the remaining cost.
Arlington is currently using those tax revenues to pay off the city’s $325 million commitment to AT&T Stadium, where the Dallas Cowboys play. The city will pull back on the accelerated payments it’s currently making to the Cowboys’ facility and use the savings to start construction on the new Rangers stadium.
Arlington has $147 million remaining on AT&T Stadium. The plan is to refinance that debt and extend the original payoff date to 2034. The city began paying on the 30-year note in 2005 but was on track to have it paid off by 2021, having already realized $118 million in savings through its aggressive payments.
The Star reports that the Rangers have agreed to a $100 million buyout price for the stadium should they decide to do so when the lease expires in 2054.
The city council has also approved the Rangers' proposed 10 percent admission tax and a $3 parking tax on game days to help cover its share of the facility. The Rangers, however, haven’t decided yet whether they will actually implement that revenue stream. Rob Matwick, vice president of business operations for the Rangers told the Star that the team is still “working through” its funding agreements and will make “those decisions soon.”
The original proposal for the Rangers' stadium had been a 38,000-seat venue, but Matwick said the team may increase that number. “It’s been a give-and-take while we’re in the design process,” he said. “I would say that in the next two months we’ll be much closer to a definitive number. But I expect it to fall in the 40,000-42,000 range.”
The Rangers currently play at the 49,115-seat Globe Life Park in Arlington, which opened April 1, 1994.