Dallas Cowboys

Designer, architect put wow factor in Cowboys’ The Star in Frisco

The Dallas Cowboys have a new home, The Star in Frisco, that is part of a 91-acre mixed-used development worth $1.5 billion.

And it will take your breath away.

The team’s headquarters sits on approximately five acres by itself.

Then there are another 20 acres or so that include The Ford Center, a 12,000-seat indoor stadium; two outdoor football fields; multiple offices and workout facilities; and a 16-story Omni Hotel.

A description: Big. And, wow.

Gensler designer Paul Manno and architect Scott Armstrong have been working on the project for three years. Gensler is the architect and interior designer for the Cowboys’ headquarters and adjoining indoor stadium/event center.

“The speed of construction gone through and now having The Ford Center signs up and you’re walking through the plaza, it’s a one-of-a-kind unique space that the city along with the Cowboys will enjoy,” Armstrong said.

The architects have had many meetings with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and his family. The Jones family has a reputation of doing things in a big way. Manno and Armstrong understood the magnitude of the project from the start.

“I think when you say Jerry’s doing it big, I think what that means is he wants to do it right. They made a lot of really smart investments,” said Manno, who claims more than 20 million square miles of design experience.

“They’re very involved, and many people know that about them. This is their team and this is who they are,” Armstrong said. “Even today, you’ll get emails from Charlotte [Jones Anderson] and Jerry; there are things that they want to be involved in, every step and every decision.”

Anderson is the team’s executive vice president/chief brand officer and one of the most powerful women in sports.

“I always appreciated how the Cowboys have always addressed their brand,” Manno said. “The fact that they named it The Star —how many organizations can you call The Star — so just a lot of respect for them as an organization and how they’ve taken their brand and watching it evolve through all the years.”

When talking about concepts with the Jones family, fan experience and Texas high school football were some of the priorities.

“Most NFL training facilities stand alone, but the fact that this is nestled in this Frisco community, the fact that they chose to make it a part of the community, that to me is what’s unique about it,” Manno said. “It’s one of the coolest things to me. Working with the Jones family was a very cool experience.

The stadium will be ready in time for the start of the high school football season. Frisco Independent School District, a financial partner in the project with the Cowboys and the city of Frisco, will have a quadruple-header on Aug. 27 that includes all eight schools. The second game of the day, between Frisco Lone Star and Frisco Heritage, will be nationally televised at 12:30 p.m. on ESPNU. All of the games are sold out.

“The first thing I thought about when we got this project was how this was going to elevate high school football — just the opportunities for these kids to have a chance to be near the Cowboys,” Manno said.

The Cowboys asked the school district if the field should be painted in neutral colors.But school officials declined and wanted everything about the Cowboys to be part of it.

“They said that they wanted every high school kid to be able to stand on that star,” Manno said. “This is going to get the kids pumped up to play with the same markings with the Cowboys.”

Along with the Omni, corporate offices will connect to the workout and training facilities, along with offices for the coaches and even a broadcast studio.

There will also be additional office buildings, lifestyle, retail and restaurant space, along with residential components at The Star, which is located at the northwest corner of Warren Parkway and the Dallas North Tollway. Some of the retailers will include City Works, Dee Lincoln Prime, Liberty Burger, Mi Cocina, Nestle Toll House Cafe by Chip, Next Step Dance and Tupelo Honey Cafe.

“When the entire 91 acres gets done, it will be a wonderful venue,” Manno said. “It will become a great place to go. It’s a great mixed-use place, very well calculated with all the aspects and well balanced.”

Manhattan Construction, Lincoln Property Co. and O’Brien Architects are also involved in the project.

“This is one of the most unique pieces out there. There are not a lot of unique partnerships like this,” said Armstrong, who lives in Frisco. “There’s going to be so much great energy. I’m excited to be going out there on a Friday night to see all that fun energy all around and going to a game. It’s going to be really fun.”

This project was special for Armstrong. He moved to Dallas when he was 2 and grew up a Dallas Cowboys fan. He played football and graduated from Southlake Carroll in 2002.

“I played high school football at the old stadium and at that time, got to sit in the lockers, and how cool that was as a high school kid. Now these kids will do it on a weekly basis, that’s pretty awesome,” he said. “This project is obviously special to me, just the exciting nature of it and the uniqueness of the partnership with the city of Frisco.”

Added Manno, “It will become a great place to go.”

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