Friday, March 27, 2015

Texas Rangers take a walk in Uptown, looks to slide into new Dallas home

Texas Rangers Uptown  JLD 3624

It's two weeks before the Texas Rangers open their season with a series against the Oakland A's, and the club has decided to close its Uptown retail store as its lease expires at the end of March.

"We have been looking at it (the lease) for the past six to 12 months to determine what to do, but it's a much larger footprint than we needed," Rob Matwick, the executive vice president of business operations for the Texas Rangers, told the Dallas Business Journal in an exclusive interview.

The Rangers have operated its Dallas retail location in roughly 4,000-square-foot at the shopping center at the southeast corner of Pearl and McKinney streets for the past seven years, as well as a small sales office. However, the Rangers decided to consolidate its sales office staff at Globe Life Park in Arlington a few years ago, and the store has been under-utilized for quite some time, Matwick told me.

"As a retail location, it didn't make sense for us to have that kind of space," he told me. "We are looking at our options for a smaller space of about 2,000 square feet with high pedestrian traffic."

The Rangers don't have a retail broker, but the team has had a number of internal discussions about a possible future Dallas location, he added. The team also has retail stores at the Arlington ballpark and another store at 316 Main St. in Fort Worth.

The Uptown store sold team merchandise and gave fans the ability to pick up tickets at the site. The Dallas merchandise sales in Uptown won't be hurt in the short term, Matwick told me.

"You can go to an Academy or the other store," he said. "Our product is available at many retail locations throughout North Texas. With so much merchandise transacted online and the large retail presence of the Rangers in our market, this won't hurt us in the short term."

Uptown's lease rates have continued to climb in recent years as the popularity of the neighborhood has increased. Matwick said the club's decision wasn't tied to the rising rents, but didn't fit the club's needs.

Matwick said the Rangers are busy getting ready for its season opener in Oakland against the A's on April 6, as well as its first home game on April 10th, and not focused on opening a new Dallas store.

"We're going to get the season started first and then we're going to look at our options," he said.

Candace Carlisle, Dallas Business Journal