ALAMO HEIGHTS — Members and employees of the historic Argyle Club will soon have more room to safely park their vehicles.
The City Council unanimously voted Nov. 13 to grant a special-use permit to the private dining club, which will expand its parking lot by 29 spaces using a neighboring lot at the end of Argyle Avenue.
The Argyle Club, 934 Patterson Ave., will also erect a storage building and a break area for employees in the new space.
Landscaping and a new concrete wall will block both the storage structure and workers’ break area from the view of neighbors along Argyle Avenue.
Additionally, the club wants to plant 11 trees and is working to preserve two other trees around the area to be enlarged.
“We plan to make it look very attractive and very invisible where possible,” club President John Oberman told the council.
Increasing the parking area will also reduce the number of employees and visitors stopping on the roads bordering The Argyle Club property.
“We believe the biggest benefit to the neighborhood will be to get the vehicles off the street,” Oberman said.
According to city officials, only one nearby property owner opposed the special-use permit request. All other neighboring landholders expressed support.
The city’s Planning and Zoning Commission and Architectural Review Board both recommended approval of the request.
Oberman said another improvement will be moving utilities to the southern edge of Argyle Avenue from the northern part of the street.
This will give more room for the Fire Department’s ladder truck to access the entirety of the clubhouse’s height in an emergency.
Councilwoman Lynda Billa Burke, a club member, said she, other city leaders and neighbors agree The Argyle’s plans will have a positive impact on the community.
“I’m excited about this project because it relieves the parking issue,” she said. “Alamo Heights has a terrible problem with parking on public rights of way. This makes things a lot safer for neighbors.”
Burke’s colleagues said The Argyle appears to be furthering its reputation of being a good neighbor.
“It looks like The Argyle has made an effort to actually improve the view from Argyle Avenue,” Councilman John Savage said.
The Argyle, which provides financial support for the Texas Biomedical Research Institute, has a long, storied history.
The property, situated in southwest Alamo Heights near the Olmos Dam, originally was a headquarters for Charles Anderson’s 1,400-acre ranch in the 1850s.
According to some historians, Anderson built atop an old stone clubhouse established by Irish settlers in the 1830s.
A Union sympathizer, Anderson and his family were pressured by local Confederate supporters to leave San Antonio in 1861.
The ranch stayed largely unoccupied during the Civil War. After the hostilities, the McLane family acquired the ranch and operated it for several years.
Around 1890, the ranch was sold to a development consortium from Denver. According to records, the main plantation house was bought by two Scotsmen named Patterson, who added the third floor and a southwest wing, converting the building into a hotel on the outskirts of San Antonio.
It’s said The Argyle got its name because of the surrounding bluffs overlooking the Olmos Basin, which reminded its then-owners of the rolling hills of Scotland.
The O’Grady family from Ireland bought The Argyle and ran it as an inn through World War II. The Argyle, in those years, was renowned for serving famous guests and gourmet cuisine.
TBRI — formerly Southwest Foundation for Research and Education of San Antonio — bought The Argyle in the 1950s and turned it into an exclusive club, deriving contributions from members.