It is hard to believe a whole year has passed since Arlington hosted Super Bowl XLV between the Packers and the Steelers. It was clearly the single, largest sporting event in Arlington’s history and, despite its issues, a remarkable achievement. As David Crosby wrote “It’s been a long time comin’,” but not as long as the watershed event that recently transpired at the University of Texas at Arlington.
The UTA Mavericks hosted the UT San Antonio Roadrunners in the grand opening of its long awaited College Park Center, the centerpiece of the $80 million College Park mixed-use project. This development provides housing for 600 students in both student housing and apartment units, 30,000 square feet of retail, 1,800 parking spaces, and the exquisite 7,500-seat, multi-purpose arena.
Prior to the gala event on the Feb. 1, where both the women’s and men’s basketball teams prevailed, the games were played on a performance theatre stage in Texas Hall. This was clearly not a good recruiting tool for premier athletes, yet nonetheless, the Mavericks lead the Southland conference and heading to the WAC next year.
So, what does this have to do with real estate?
Simply, the College Park development is a partnership with UTA, the city, and First Baptist Church Arlington. It is the catalyst for a resurgence in downtown Arlington and the eastern side of UTA ‘s 400-acre campus, home to 33,000 students.
To think of Arlington as the entertainment capital of North Texas is not a hyperbole. With its downtown and university area spearheading new development, Arlington is quickly becoming a premier urban residential area, just as it has been known for its fine neighborhoods and school system. A plethora of new eateries have already opened along Abrams Street, where both lunch and dinner business is vibrant. College Park retail is almost fully pre-leased.
College Park Center will host more than 100 events annually, with sports, concerts, graduations, and civic functions driving traffic to a previously underutilized part of town. Witnessing the genuine passion and excitement of opening day at College Park Center, coupled with truly fantastic basketball in a wonderful facility, make one long for the spirit of competition and the pride one can have in its local university and sports teams. Well done, UTA and Arlington!