Dallas Cowboys executives researched other NFL teams’ headquarters when planning for The Star, said Chad Estis, executive vice president of business operations for the Cowboys. From what the Cowboys found, nothing gave the public as much access to an NFL team as The Star, Estis said.
“We were well aware of that going in, that we were doing something quite unique by allowing people to experience our corporate headquarters and training center in a whole variety of different ways,” he said.
The development, anchored by the Cowboys world headquarters and practice facility, gives visitors and tenants several opportunities to interact with team players and the Cowboys brand, whether through watching a team practice, exploring the Ring of Honor Walk throughout the development or touring the Ford Center at The Star practice facility.
Surrounding the headquarters are a mix of shops and restaurants that have created a hub of activity at The Star. In 2017 alone, this development opened more than a dozen retail and dining tenants, hosted a variety of events at the Ford Center and attracted visitors from across the country.
The Star has given Frisco nationwide recognition as a major attraction, Frisco Mayor Jeff Cheney said.
“It’s definitely fair to say that the Dallas Cowboys, the brand and The Star coming here has put Frisco on a national map—international in some regards,” he said.
‘A vibrant scene’
Though The Star held a grand opening in 2016, much of the development’s activity took off in 2017.
Notable openings at The Star in 2017 include the Omni Frisco Hotel; the Cowboys Fit gym; and the multitude of dining, retail and office tenants, including Cane Rosso, Neighborhood Services, City Works Eatery & Pour House and the Lincoln Experience Center.
The dining options have become a magnet for residents and visitors alike, Cheney said.
“It’s gotten to the point now where even my family or friends a lot of times are like, ‘We just want to go down to The Star, and then we’ll figure out where we’re going to eat once we get there,’” he said. “You just know you want to be down there. Those are the types of environments we’re looking to create in the future.”
Visit Frisco’s most recent tourism study shows that visitors did not go to locations within The Star as much as other popular spots in the city, such as Stonebriar Centre and Frisco Square. But Visit Frisco Executive Director Marla Roe said this is likely because most of The Star’s restaurants and shops opened after the study wrapped up in summer 2017.
“While the Ford Center might have been open [during the study], everything else around it wasn’t open; the hotel wasn’t open,” she said. “There really was not an opportunity for people to experience it like there is now.”
Roe said with everything that is open now, a future study would likely show more people visiting The Star and all of its shops and restaurants.
Visitors are automatically drawn to The Star simply because it is associated with the Cowboys, Roe said. Visitors can be seen throwing a football on the Tostito’s Championship Plaza outside of the Ford Center and reading the markers for the Ring of Honor Walk, a collection of monuments dedicated to former players and coaches.
“The brand of the Cowboys, right off the bat, that’s an attraction for that area,” Roe said. “People want to be near—especially if you’re a huge Cowboys fan—to where they live most of the time and where they’re playing and to have the opportunity to hang out on the plaza area. I just think it’s such a vibrant scene.”
More to come
Additional office and retail tenants are expected to either open or be announced in 2018. As of late December, about 15 percent of the retail space has yet to be leased, according to the Cowboys. In the headquarters building, another 10 percent of office space is yet to be leased.
In addition, Baylor Scott & White Sports Therapy and Research at The Star is expected to open in 2018. The medical facility will focus on injury prevention and research for athletes.
Construction is also expected to begin early this year on The Star’s first residential high-rise, which is scheduled to open in 2019. The high-rise is planned to have 17 stories and a maximum of 160 units.
Many events are already booked at the Ford Center for 2018, Estis said. For instance, the Dallas Rattlers, a Major League Lacrosse team that relocated from Rochester, will begin playing games at the center for the 2018 season. Estis said concerts are expected to be announced early this year.
“When we got into the business of booking the Ford Center, there were absolutely some unknowns,” he said. “One thing we knew for certain was a lot of high school football. What I don’t think we knew at the time was what type of concert venue can the Ford Center be.”
The Star is also expected to expand its sphere of influence beyond its own development by setting a new bar for high-quality mixed-use development within Frisco, Cheney said. He said developers have changed their plans after seeing what The Star brought to the city.
“This 91 acres has made the entire stretch of the $5 Billion Mile just more valuable,” he said. “… It’s really transformed this entire region of our city.”
This story is one update from The January Issue. View the full list of Top 10 stories to follow in 2018 here.