Today we’d like to introduce you to Jake Wagner and Tony Ruggeri.
Jake and Tony, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Today, we serve as Co-CEOs at Republic Property Group, a Dallas-based lifestyle and community developer focused on creating amazing experiences for North Texas. We have actually known one another for 25 years, and each got our start in real estate related professions here in DFW. A decade ago, we became colleagues at RPG and in 2013 assumed leadership of the company as Co-CEOs and Partners.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Among developers, we’re often viewed as young – even though we are running a company with a 50-year track record of success. Republic Property Group has been involved in some of the most significant residential real estate projects in North Texas over the years – from Stonebridge Ranch in McKinney to Lantana in Denton, and recently with two of the top selling communities in the nation at Light Farms in Celina and Phillips Creek Ranch in Frisco.
Our challenge has always been to continue delivering developments that are highly sought after by residents and ultimately successful for our partners and constituents while pushing the envelope of what role a developer can play in building the true fabric of a community. That means going beyond infrastructure, lots, houses and master plans, and thinking carefully and imaginatively about what will make a neighborhood relevant 50, 100 years from now.
In our newest community, the 7,200-acre Walsh neighborhood in Fort Worth, you really see that vision start to come to life: we’re building the first ever Makerspace in the heart of a new residential community, tapping into the power of the global Maker movement and a revived interest in small business manufacturing to give kids growing up and parents that want to tinker or monetize hobbies access to the tools, technology (e.g., 3D printers, laser cutters, woodworking, robotics, etc.) and training that enables creativity to flourish. At the same time, we recognized that waiting for the technology giants to bring the internet of the future to North Texas was simply taking too long. Technology needs to be considered at the same time infrastructure planning occurs for water, gas and electricity services, so at Walsh, we formed a telecom company to privately install a fiber internet network that powers 10GB internet speeds. That means that today – not in the future, actually right now – we are offering the fastest residential internet in the nation to homebuyers (and future corporate tenets).
We hope that a decade from now, we’re talking about not only how great life is for residents at our communities, but how the experiences we implemented as developers have spurred true economic growth or innovation in Texas.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
Republic Property Group is known for building award-winning residential communities and amenities; specifically in North Texas we have current projects underway at Walsh in Fort Worth, Light Farms in Celina, Phillips Creek Ranch in Frisco, and the Villas at Legacy West.
Each of these projects is unique and impressive in their own ways, but it is the work we do at RPG to design and create experiences and products to enrich the lives of residents that truly sets each development apart from others in North Texas. The opportunity to build a lifestyle through each of our projects is not something we take lightly, and to make sure we do it well, we are constantly seeking out smart and innovative partners to help us deliver unique programming, entertainment and community offerings. Very few other places in the country will you find the same chef who just opened six new downtown restaurants (Graham Dodds) consulting on a suburban neighborhood’s new cafe (Farmstand Café and Market, opening early 2018 at Light Farms), or the same landscape design company (EDI) that oversaw work at the 9/11 Memorial in New York helping to bring native and mature trees to a new neighborhood (Walsh).
Counting two of the nation’s top selling communities at Light Farms and Phillips Creek Ranch among our projects is certainly a milestone, and we’re exceptionally proud of the reception and early sales we’ve seen after opening the Walsh neighborhood in Fort Worth.
More important than the numbers, however, is our desire to leave a place better than it previously existed. We go to great lengths to ensure development is responsible and gives back, whether that is through partnerships with local school districts like Republic Property Group has in Aledo ISD at Walsh and Prosper ISD at Light Farms, or through committing to preserve or reclaim much of the land we develop as parks and open space.