For most of its 51-year history, Republic Property Group as a brand was virtually unheard of, instead known mainly as “Rick Strauss’ company,” and its developments known as “Strauss’ deals.” When Strauss stepped into a chairman role five years ago, he tapped two 30-something Dallas guys who each had less than 10 years of experience to take the company into the next generation.
The pair had already known each other for half their lives, having met as seventh graders at St. Mark’s School of Texas. After attending college (Boston College for Ruggeri, The University of Texas at Austin for Wagner), they found themselves back in Dallas, as roommates, each working in different capacities in real estate.
Strauss got Wagner and Ruggeri very involved in the company right off the bat, mentoring them for the next 8 years.
Around 2012, a few things happened that radically transformed Republic Property Group. After acquiring the land that would become Light Farms and Phillips Creek Ranch during the Great Recession, Republic was ready to develop the properties in 2012.
The duo base development decisions of what they would want in a community. At Light Farms, it owns and operates a restaurant called The Farm Stand Café & Market and has doubled down on its commitment to nature and community with 13 miles of trails, a neighborhood farmers market, programmed events, and 240 acres of parks and open space. At Walsh, Republic just opened a 2,000-square-foot “makerspace” with equipment such as a laser cutter, 3D printer, woodworking tools, robotics lab, and computer design software. Walsh also has a general store-style market. The firm has also focused on technology and connectivity at Walsh. By creating a telecom division of the company, called Frog, the firm has made Walsh the first master-planned community in the U.S. to offer a minimum of two-gigabit internet speeds in all homes and schools.
Republic Property Group is Shaping DFW one property at a time.