- Cheryl Hall, Dallas Morning News

Roger Staubach wants more playing time with Robert Shaw.

In July, Staubach quietly retired as executive chairman of JLL Americas, and he’s moving into new digs next to the third-floor offices of Shaw’s company, Columbus Realty Partners Ltd., in Preston Center.

Staubach says he’ll continue to do selected projects for JLL, the Chicago-based real estate giant that bought Staubach Co. in 2008 for $640 million in a multiyear payout. But he’ll be traveling less and spending more time going to his grandkids’ events and doing deals with his buddy Shaw.

“Robert’s fantastic,” Staubach says. “I’m a part owner of his company, Columbus. We’ve been working together for 30 years or so. I’ll be officing with Robert. I’ve just got plenty to do.

“The timing is perfect,” he says. “It’s been 10 years with JLL. There’s things that I’ll still be able to do for JLL. But I won’t be full time with the company, traveling and everything. This has been a massive home run with JLL.”

The Dallas Cowboys Hall of Fame quarterback spent his final season in 1979 taking snaps from Shaw, a rookie center.

Former Dallas Cowboys players and now real estate partners Roger Staubach (left) and Robert Shaw are pictured in Roger’s new office under construction at Columbus Realty Partners in Dallas. (Tom Fox/Staff Photographer)

“Robert was really a good football player — drafted in the first round,” says Staubach. “Then he tore up his knee in ’82. He would have continued to be a great player, but his knee was really bad. So he had to retire early.”

Both went on to build highly successful careers in real estate after football.

Staubach, 76, originated tenant representation. Shaw, 61, is the father of Uptown’s apartment building boom.

“Remember, things got a little dicey in the late ’80s,” says Staubach of the real estate bust that took down a lot of folks in the industry. “Robert and I worked together on things that we had to get straightened out. Then we formed the company together. He’s just a great developer.”

In 1991, they built The Meridian, 130 apartments off McKinney Avenue just north of downtown. The project had been turned down by many lenders who thought building the first modern rental community just north of downtown was a lousy idea.

That neighborhood became Uptown.

Shaw, who’s never been big on personal publicity, is delighted to have Staubach close at hand.

“Without Roger’s support as a founding partner of Columbus, it is hard to imagine our being able to have achieved the level of success or to have survived the many downturns of the real estate market,” Shaw says. “We have been blessed to have him as a partner and friend over the last 31 years and look forward to him being a integral part of our continued success.”

From left: Jim Leslie, Roger Staubach and Robert Shaw are shown in 2000 after announcing the formation of a development company, Amicus Partners. (Courtesy photo)

Opening the field

 

Staubach and Shaw will continue to double-team, much as they have throughout their real estate partnership.

Staubach uses his connections to open the playing field. Then Shaw — known for quality apartment developments at Addison Circle, Legacy Town Center and the $3 billion Legacy West project in Plano — steps into the pocket to deliver the projects.

That’s a bit of a reversal from their playing days.

“You have to have the relationships to at least get a chance,” Staubach says. “But they really hire us because of Robert. He’s got such a great track record. It’s been a positive thing for me to be part of his company.”

Last year, the duo joined forces with restaurateur Phil Romano to ultimately build 1,000 apartments in the Trinity Groves area.

They also teamed up with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and his family to develop a 17-story luxury apartment tower in the Cowboys’ Star mixed-use project on the Dallas North Tollway in Frisco.

“What a great fit for [Staubach] to be involved — and Robert Shaw, too,” Jones told The News when the tower was announced in May 2017. “They bring an expertise we don’t have and such credibility. It’s a great strategic alliance.”

The project team also includes Staubach Capital, formed by Roger’s son, Jeff Staubach, who left his executive position at JLL in late 2017. Staubach Capital is an equity investor in 12 Cowboys Way — a nod to Roger’s playing days.

“Jeff’s looking to acquire assets,” says Roger. “He was able to help us raise the equity for it.”

No fanfare

 

Roger left his job as JLL’s executive chairman without fanfare or public announcement.

That’s the way Staubach wanted it, especially since he’s still doing work for JLL.

“They had a really great party for me with their leadership council [in Chicago]. Then we had one here in Dallas. I just wanted to ease out,” he says. “It’s been a perfect match and it’s still going strong. The old Staubachians are running the Americas for JLL — Greg O’Brien [CEO of JLL Americas] and John Gates [CEO of JLL Markets] are still a big part of it.”

Staubach says he’ll miss the adrenaline rush that he got while nailing down business deals at JLL.

“But I don’t really worry about the other things that I’ll miss,” he says. “I’ve got plenty to do.”

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