Shopping Center Business

MAY 2017

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COVER STORY 112 • SHOPPING CENTER BUSINESS • May 2017 Dallas North Tollway grew into Collin County. Today, Blue Star has significant real estate holdings in the Frisco area. In the early 1990s, the company developed a single-family residential neighborhood called Star Wood in the area. "The stretch between Plano and Frisco has had the most unbelievable growth that anyone could have ever imagined," says Jerry Jones. "We followed the toll road north and acquired land, becoming one of the largest land owners in the area." As land owners and developers in the area, Blue Star was comfortable with the Frisco location. "We have done a lot of business here, working with the cities of Frisco and Pros- per, and we really had gotten to know the players and how things worked here," says Stephen Jones, who also serves as chief operating officer, executive vice president and director of player personnel with the Cowboys. Jerry Jones says that, since the Cowboys had just completed the development of AT&T Stadium, he was not enamored ini- tially with the idea of developing a new practice facility, especially the financial commitment that it might involve. "Jerry was not comfortable with build- ing just a practice facility," says Stephen Jones. "What we had at Valley Ranch — albeit tired — was something that he felt was functional. He said he would be on board if we could move the needle for the Cowboys and have the new project work financially for the organization." Most NFL practice facilities cost be- tween $50 million and $100 million, plus operational costs. Most fans never bother to visit them, so most are not showplaces and the majority have no revenue stream tied to them whatsoever. "They are really not something that the fans get to be a part of," says Stephen Jones. "They are places where the em- ployees go to work and the players go to work. When we looked at this project as a practice facility, we knew we needed to make it different." The facility at Valley Ranch had no room for spectators. The Cowboys often had to take the show on the road when it was time for public practices during training camp. The Cowboys also envisioned The Star as somewhere fans could come and further connect with the team. Do- ing so would mean having more than a training facility and headquarters. Economically, team executives decided, if they were to de- velop a mixed-use project, other com- panies would be able to benefit from the cachet of the Cowboys' brand. As a result, the idea of a mixed-use develop- ment — expanding beyond the Cowboys' practice requirements — surfaced. People may not remember, but when Jones acquired the Cowboys in 1989, it was the most ever paid for a sports fran- chise at the time, and the team was losing $1 million per month. Jones quickly began to negotiate for new revenue streams for the Cowboys, through ticket sales, spon- sorships and the like. In the mid-1990s, Jones sued the NFL so that the Cowboys could determine its own licensing agree- ments — and won. "We have always been looking for sources of the revenue since we acquired the Cowboys," says Jerry Jones. "The solution for us was trying to tie affinity — the emotion that goes with sports — with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones (left, right and below) was involved in the development of The Star. In the interview with SCB , he discussed his life in business, as well as his role in the project. Stephen Jones, left, and Jerry Jones in Stephen Jones' office at the Cowboys' headquarters. Jeremiah Jhass/Dallas Cowboys Jeremiah Jhass/Dallas Cowboys

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