The Boerne, Texas resort’s clubhouse was destroyed in a fire on November 4, and the owners plan to rebuild the facility “better and bigger,” with replacement costs estimated at $5 million. The golf course, pool and fitness club have re-opened to members, but will remain closed to the public for the foreseeable future.
Members of Tapatio Springs Hill Country Resort in Boerne, Texas are making do with temporary facilities after a fire destroyed its clubhouse on November 4, but they’re looking forward to the construction of larger and nicer replacement, the San Antonio Express-News reported.
“It was devastating to see this clubhouse that we have enjoyed for all these many years just burn to the ground,” said Esther McNutt, a resident since 2004. “Everybody is just very shocked that it happened.”
The building was a critical cog in the operation of the semi-private resort. Northview Hotels and Resorts General Manager Caleb DuBose estimated the replacement cost will top $5 million for the two-story building, which included a restaurant, ballroom, bar, pro shop, corporate offices and a basement garage for golf carts, the Express-News reported.
“It was the hub of our operations, so it leaves us closed to the public for the foreseeable future, but we are getting our operations restarted on a limited basis for our members,” he said, noting the new center could open within 16 months.
Northview Hotels and Resorts bought a majority share of the business in 2014, partnering with existing shareholders George Strait and Tom Cusick, and now manages the facility. “The property is well insured and that’s going to allow us to build a much better and bigger improved Tapatio Springs,” said DuBose.
McNutt praised resort management for quickly restoring services and looking to the future. “It’s very welcome news that they are rebuilding, but we really didn’t expect anything other than that,” she said.
About 30 people were in the building at 7 p.m. on November 4 when whiffs of smoke led a maintenance worker to the attic, where he discovered an area aflame covering roughly 10-by-20 feet, said DuBose, prompting a futile attempt to subdue it, an evacuation and a 911 call, the Express-News reported.
“I’m extremely proud of our associates for their swift action,” DuBose said.
The blaze that gutted the landmark and kept firefighters on the scene until that afternoon was among the area’s most destructive in years, the Express-News reported.
“It just got a head start on us and that led to the outcome that we had,” Boerne Fire Chief Doug Meckel said. “It’s a terrible loss, but we were very fortunate that we didn’t have any injuries.”
Firefighters quickly doused a flare-up on November 7 in the smoldering remains of the resort, the Express-News reported.
Numerous events planned there in coming months have been canceled, or are relocating, but no employees have been laid off due to the fire. “We’re utilizing our associates in other areas at this time,” DuBose said.
The golf course, pool and fitness club have re-opened to members, but will remain closed to the public for a while. Temporary offices have already been set up in other buildings, where space also will be converted into a food and drink facility for the club’s 320 members, the Express-News reported.
“We plan to move as quickly as possible to clear the scene of debris,” DuBose said, noting demolition of the charred shell of the building could commence this week. “Once we get the green light, we’ll do the rebuild. We’re going to have a completely new design.”
Members will receive yet-to-be determined consideration/compensation for losing use of the clubhouse, which has twice undergone significant renovations since Cusick and Strait acquired an interest in the 250-acre resort in early 2011, the Express-News reported.
Despite those improvements, which DuBose said include $600,000-$700,000 since Northview took over, the property is valued at only $581,000 for tax purposes by the Kendall County Appraisal District, including four acres of land. A staffer said that value was set in 2014, the last time an appraisal was done on the building constructed in 1976 that covered 22,543 sq. ft. on the first and second floors, had a 13,283-sq. ft. finished basement/garage, and several porches, the Express-News reported.
The fire remains under investigation, but arson is not suspected by Kendall County Fire Marshal Jeff Fincke. “We’re pretty sure it started in the attic at this point, but we’re not sure about the cause,” he said.
Bill Weidler, who moved in 1998 into one of the high-dollar subdivisions surrounding the course, described himself as “heartbroken” over the destruction of the comfortable gathering spot for community members and guests, the Express-News reported.
“If you live here as long as I have, it’s kind of an integral part of your life,” said Weidler, 75, who watched from the fairway as firefighters fought the blaze. “I thought they pretty much had it under control, but then there was a big ‘swoosh’ and flames started shooting out again. From there, there was no stopping it.”