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DALLAS-Recently retired Dallas Cowboy Emmitt Smith will lead a first-time play by the Staubach Co., taking the field as majority owner and president of Smith/Cypress Partners. The new retail company is leveraging the rollout as a Minority Business Enterprise.

Smith, who already owns some commercial real estate, started discussing the venture “three or four years ago” with Chris Maguire, president and CEO of Staubach Retail and its development affiliate, Cypress Equities. Maguire tells GlobeSt.com that “we started getting serious in the last six months.” Smith will be at Staubach’s side for ICSC’s Las Vegas show, his kick-off on the development side for the retail sector.

Maguire says Smith will solo at first, using the platforms and playbooks from Staubach Retail and Cypress Equities to build the MBE-structured company. “We’ve got the platform. It just makes sense for us to come together,” Maguire says. “We’ll build the company as we build the pipeline.” The 10-year-old Staubach Retail now has more than 200 employees in 17 US metros, a network that grossed $41 million last year.

Smith/Cypress Partners is starting from scratch, without any deals in the pipeline. The competitively natured Smith, ranked as the NFL’s all-time leading rusher, probably will score his first touchdown as a retail developer in about three months, Maguire predicts.

Smith, who’s traveling, says in a prepared statement that he’s “ready to get started in a business I’ve considered launching for a long time.”

The MBE designation opens new doors for Cypress. “We’ll have a lot of new opportunities that we’ve not really explored as yet,” Maguire says. Over the long term, the MBE designation could be the ticket to large-scale, public-private partnership developments like town centers.

Smith is moving from Arizona to Dallas so he can office in Staubach’s Dallas headquarters, becoming the third football star for the halls. Besides the internationally recognized Roger Staubach, the building holds the HQ office for Robert Shaw, a former Cowboy who now heads up the Amicus Co., one of the area’s leading luxury developers of multifamily product.

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