Community expands into new acreage; 39 homesites offered
After two years under new ownership, Fredericksburg’s private club community is expanding development into the second half of the 2,000-acre Boot Ranch property.
A partnership between Terra Verde Group and Wheelock Street Capital purchased Boot Ranch in 2015 from Lehman Brothers Holdings, acquiring the existing 55,000-square-foot clubhouse, the 18-hole golf course, a 34-acre golf practice park, the Ranch Club pool complex and land meant to hold about 350 future residences.
“It was a wonderful thing that was here, it was done really well, and was in what I think is a great location,” said Terra Verde principal Craig Martin.
Phase one under the new ownership saw investment of $6 million in enhancements, including new course greens and bunkers, the largest putting park in Texas, a 1.7-mile hike-and-bike trail, and recreational facilities at Longhorn Lake.
For phase two, roads are now being constructed into the northern half of Boot Ranch, dubbed “Nordenhill,” and the first 39 home sites are being offered for sale.
At the time of the ownership change, the club had about 165 members. Today, that has increased to 225. Officials say about 30 percent are “non-resident” members, meaning their membership is not attached to property ownership at Boot Ranch. They typically live in or near Fredericksburg and use Boot Ranch for golf or social purposes.
Marketing Director Barbara Koenig said non-resident memberships are “sold out” and the only way to currently obtain a Boot Ranch membership is through a real estate purchase. Sixty developer properties have sold and closed in the past two years and 27 additional properties are under reservation or contract.
“Members were responsible for nearly half of the number of referrals we had for future residents,” Koenig said.
One size does not fit all
An element that has drawn buyers to Boot Ranch is the variety of residential options, Koenig said.
“We wanted to expand our product to offer something for everyone, so when a buyer walks in, they have options,” Martin said. The Boot Ranch Realty Team helps potential buyers to narrow down the option that is best for them and their lifestyle.”
The community features home sites from one-half to 18 acres, condominium residences from 2,000 to 4,000 square feet, shared-ownership Sunday Houses, and house-lot packages with pre-approved home plans that allow for buyer customization. Home sites range from $250,000 to more than $2 million. House-lot packages start around $1.3 million. Club membership is included in the purchase price.
Sunday Houses are one of the most popular options, Koenig said. Eight families share ownership, use and expenses and each family averages about 40 nights of use each year. Seven Sunday Houses are sold out and shares are being sold in two additional ones. Shares start at $325,000 for a five-bedroom, fully furnished Sunday House with about 4,500 square feet. A six-bedroom Sunday House with private pool, located in the Clubhouse Village area, is selling for $500,000 per share.
Martin said the house-lot packages fill a demand from buyers who don’t want to spend years designing and building a custom home from scratch.
“Our buyers are eager to start enjoying Boot Ranch, and many know already how time-consuming a custom home project is,” Martin said. “They told us they wanted a lot of options, a sense early on of cost, and the ability to be done in about a year. And that’s what we provided.”
The idea was launched last May with the opening of the 2017 Texas Monthly Hill Country Show Home, a 3,500-square-foot model that combines historically inspired architecture with a modern, open floor plan.
Plans from three architectural firms were commissioned: Don B. McDonald of San Antonio, Chas Architects of Austin, and Design Visions of Fredericksburg. Interior designers working on the projects are Amy Slaughter of Fredericksburg and Donna Figg of Austin.
A place to gather
Koenig said about 40 percent of property buyers plan to live at Boot Ranch full time and the rest use it as a second home. The majority of buyers are from the Houston or Dallas-Fort Worth areas. Some younger families are relocating because they want to raise kids in Fredericksburg rather than in big cities.
“For empty nesters, we see this as a place to gather with family, and we hear all the time that families are scattered across Texas, but this is where they come to be together,” she said.
A lifestyle community
Martin defines this exclusive club as a “lifestyle community.”
“We aren’t just selling a house or a weekend home, but a community where people can enjoy recreation and develop friendships with other members,” Martin said. “When we came in, we asked members, ‘If this place had everything, what would you want it to have?’”
At the top of the list was a trail system, so the developers built a wide trail from the Ranch Club to Longhorn Lake. It’s a natural material that can stand up to walking, running, biking and even golf carts. Boot Ranch marked the trail opening last year with a 5K race with proceeds benefitting local students.
Included in the master plan is a goal to introduce one new amenity every year.
Plans for 2018 include the start of construction on a new fitness center that will include equipment and a movement studio for yoga and pilates. Also, renovation will begin on the historic Metzger House into a general store and mail center. Future plans are a dog park, a full-service spa and the completion of the Lake Club.
One of the community’s strengths is that it is within driving distance of over 15 million people, located off Ranch Road 965 (Milam Street), about four miles from Fredericksburg, Martin said.