Cibolo Canyons: A Troubled Project Finally Gets Underway

UPDATE: Marriott Resort/PGA Village to open in January 22, 2010

The Marriott Resort: resort plans to fill 500-600 jobs and is staging a job fair that continues from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday on site. (December 11 - 12, 2009; 8-5)

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San Antonio and the Texas Hill Country is a top destination for a variety of sporting activities, and a huge project is underway to assure that the area remains that way in the future. This enormous development project underway in Cibolo Canyons includes two PGA quality golf courses, a planned housing community, and a giant JW Marriott resort, spa, and convention center. Although construction on the project has recently gotten underway, not everyone is thrilled with the plans.

The road has been a long and difficult one for developers, and the project has been eight years in getting off the ground. But as long as it took to begin building, the plan, agreed upon with the city, is to have construction finished in eighteen months.

Construction of the golf course and resort began recently, but some environmentally-minded members of the community are less than thrilled with the project, since plans call for part of the two golf courses to be built over the Edwards Aquifer recharge zone, and would use water from the aquifer - San Antonio’s major source of clean water, and one of the largest aquifers in the world. Environmental groups also complain that the pesticides being used will pollute the water supply, and that San Antonio is selling out its natural resources for a playground for the wealthy.

Marriott’s spokespeople counter that they are following environmental guidelines to the letter, and that this project will be the most environmentally sound construction project undertaken in the state of Texas. Marriott also states that, upon completion, the project will provide a habitat for native wildlife through its grounds, though it is difficult to see how building a 1000 room hotel and dual golf courses could protect wildlife.

Regardless of the environmental impact the project will or will not have, the financial implications are easier to predict, and are projected to have a dramatic economic impact on the area. The golf course and resort project is estimated to produce over 2,000 permanent jobs, 5,000 construction jobs, and over $1 billion in tax revenues over the next quarter century.

The JW Marriott hotel will be one of the largest in the San Antonio area, and will feature 138,000 square feet of meeting space, along with the most modern technology available. The hotel will also offer one main restaurant, and three others spread around the property. The hotel and resort will be just a 20 minute drive from the airport, and hopes are that having such an inclusive and comprehensive location available will draw more businesses and raise interest in the city, long known for being one of the top tourist destinations in Texas.

The resort will also feature a relaxing 26,000 square foot spa with 30 treatment rooms, complete fitness center, a series of pools with cascading water, and a restaurant. The design of the spa will attempt to balance the modernity of the building with the natural beauty of the surrounding area.

In the building and designing of the two golf courses, TPC San Antonio PGA Village has enlisted the design skills of Pete Dye and Greg Norman. The two courses, when completed, will feature 36 championship quality holes, set among the beautiful Hill Country environment. The courses will be set away from the residential areas, insuring a peaceful and serene setting for play. The course is scheduled to be finished in 2010, and soon after opening, hopes are that the course will join the other TCP courses across the nation in hosting PGA Tour events and tournaments. San Antonio and the Texas Hill Country possess a wonderful year-round climate, and some of the most stunning landscape in the United States, hopes are that the newest addition to the area, will help make San Antonio a top golfing destination.

Also being built is a 1,800 lot planned Cibolo Canyons home community, featuring upscale houses ranging from $200,000 to around $1 million. The San Antonio Home community, located just minutes away from San Antonio, will be a family-oriented place that will include a private water park, swimming pools, a lazy river, soccer field, hiking and biking trails, and a large community garden. The community will measure a total of 2,593 acres, and will be located just north of San Antonio. In addition to the building of the actual community, construction is also underway for a Cibolo Canyon Parkway to serve the completed area.

The community will have its own NEISD elementary and Lady Bird Johnson High School, and the surrounding green spaces and rugged terrain will be reflected in the styles of the houses, and the entire development’s design made to blend with the beauty of the surrounding Hill Country.