The Star in Frisco is a big deal.
A really big deal.
The development that will be home to the Dallas Cowboys World Headquarters, a 12,000-seat multi-use event center, Omni hotel and wide range of mixed-use elements is starting to take shape.
Despite record rain earlier this year, Manhattan Construction, the primary builder, reports that the projects remain on schedule at the halfway point and are expected to be open by fall 2016.
First there was AT&T Stadium or “JerryWorld” — nicknamed after owner Jerry Jones — the team’s $1.3 billion state-of-the art retractable roof stadium in Arlington.
Now there’s The Star in Frisco or perhaps “Jerry Town,” a 91-acre mixed-use development on the northwest corner of Warren Parkway and the Dallas North Tollway.
The City of Frisco and Frisco Independent School District are partners with the Cowboys on the approximately $2 billion project (it began as a $1 billion project).
The Star in Frisco is a 25-year agreement with a $150 million public investment, with $90 million going toward the multi-use event center (MUEC) and $25 million for the headquarters.
As with most major projects, the final overall cost will likely change.
“When I see this, we’re going to love this place,” Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones said. “It’s going to be very hard not to spend the majority of our time here. I just think it’s going to be outstanding.”
Historically, whether it’s player transactions or business deals, the Jones family tends to do things in a big way.
Spanning 435,000 square feet, the Cowboys headquarters has grown from a two-building, four-story structure to one six-story building centered around a floor-to-ceiling atrium.
There will also be two practice fields, likely one grass and one turf.
The Cowboys will move to Frisco from their Valley Ranch headquarters in Irving next August. The team is currently in Oxnard, Calif., for training camp.
“I think when we break camp in California next year, we’ll return to our nice offices in Frisco and start our season here,” Jones said.
Jones said the majority of future training camps will be in Frisco, but not all. The agreement calls for the team to host at least one week of training camp per year in Frisco.
“I could see us spending some time out there [in Oxnard] and then spending the majority of the time coming back home and being here,” he said. “Obviously, when you have a home like this, it’s very conducive to having a training camp, and we’ll be hard-pressed to want to leave.
“But I still see us moving around some. I think it’s good for our brand.”
The fastest-moving project is the MUEC, which was the primary conversation piece during a recent media event to celebrate the midway construction point.
In May, construction crews began working on the center’s exterior skin or “envelope.” There are 575 workers on site with seven cranes, down from nine.
“The construction team has done a remarkable job keeping the project on schedule,” said Frisco ISD Superintendent Dr. Jeremy Lyon. “Our partnership with the city and the Cowboys continues to grow and thrive.
“We have something here that will serve as a model of a public-private partnership benefiting all partners.”
Gensler and O’Brien Architects are also working with the Cowboys in building a hotel, offices, restaurants and retail stores.
“The synergy surrounding this project is incredible,” Frisco Mayor Maher Maso said. “Since announcing our public-private partnership, development around this project has evolved into the Frisco ‘$5 Billion Mile.’
“The MUEC itself will be an unbelievable venue that will host many public events and create unbelievable opportunities for our students, athletically and academically.”
The “$5 Billion Mile” references the approximate mile-long stretch along the roadway that has drawn major real estate investors for big-money projects.
The Cowboys plan to stay connected with high school football in Frisco through the MUEC as they do in Arlington with AT&T Stadium.
“We’re thrilled with the progress of the project so far,” Jones said. “The facility is going to bring together high school students and the Dallas Cowboys in a way that has never been done before.
“There’s a bunch of fans here in North Texas that don’t make it to the games and it’s not economical for them, so this will give them a chance to come out here and bring their families and their kids and people who love the Cowboys and be a part of it.”
Frisco schools will open the high school football season with all eight teams during the first weekend, including Frisco, Centennial, Liberty, Wakeland, Heritage, Lone Star and Independence — along with Reedy High School which is set to open this upcoming academic year.
“I think it’ll be fabulous,” Jones said. “We’re used to seeing that out at AT&T Stadium. When they play those state championship games, they play all day and into the night, so it’s very doable.
“I think Dr. Lyon has come up with a fabulous solution in terms of not having to pick and choose a team that would play in here to open it up, so it sounds like it worked out perfectly with eight teams.”
One preliminary plan is to have an all-day football extravaganza to open the facility in August or September 2016.
“That’s the kind of enthusiasm and support The Star is generating in our community,” Lyon said.
The Star of Frisco represents five key points: performance, amateur competition, health and wellness, engagement and entertainment.
The vision is on schedule to become reality.
“We stood here a little over a year ago and talked about things this will create, and we’re seeing those things,” Maso said. “The city of Frisco is excited about the projects and the city is growing rapidly. The best is yet to come.”