After considering 17 different potential tracts of undeveloped land, New Braunfels Utilities has found the home of its future headquarters.

A 70-acre site located off I-35 behind the Animal World and Snake Farm Zoo was purchased by the utility in November. Construction on the $151 million headquarters is slated to begin in January 2025 and be completed in spring 2027.

“This location works really well for where we are on I-35 for getting access to our customers,” NBU Program Portfolio Manager Jacob Tschoepe said.

The backstory

In 2021, NBU planned to build its headquarters at the Trinity Well Field and Treatment Plant. But after the results of a staffing study were analyzed, Tschoepe said the 40 acres of property would not support the utilities' projected growth.

“Our fear was that we would not have enough room to expand and handle the continued growth of the New Braunfels community,” Tschoepe said. “As this site is quite a bit larger—over 70 acres—it gives us that ability to meet and grow along with New Braunfels well into the future.”

The staffing study showed if a facility were to be constructed on NBU’s property at the Trinity Well Field, it would be full within 10 years of opening, according to NBU officials.

The utility plans to move all the employees working out of the NBU Service Station on FM 306 and the Main Plaza office into the headquarters. By 2045, NBU anticipates having around 700 people employed at the headquarters.

According to NBU officials, any future plans for the redevelopment of the Main Plaza office—which was previously reported to be turned into a boutique hotel, restaurant and parking garage—have been put on hold until after employees move into the headquarters.

The framework

On Jan. 17, NBU held a public outreach meeting with residents and businesses neighboring the future headquarters to answer questions and look at the project. A Vision Team has also been created with NBU employees from different departments to give their input on the design and development of the new facility.

“Right now, what our architectural team is doing is taking all of that feedback and working it into the schematic design,” Tschoepe said.

NBU officials are working with architects to determine the schematic design of the future headquarters, but preliminary draft site plans outlining where the office, maintenance and equipment buildings may be located on the property have been released.

Once completed, NBU customers would be able to pay bills and receive customer service at the HQ.

“We want our customers to know exactly where to go and be able to find anything they need when it comes to NBU service all in one location, and that's what our vision is to HQ,” Tschoepe said.