Fire damages Sapphire Bay apartments site in Rowlett

No injuries reported at Zale Properties' lease-up stage development on Lake Ray Hubbard

Zale Properties’ View at Sapphire Bay Apartments Damaged in Fire
Zale Properties' Mark Zale with rendering of The View at Sapphire Bay (Zale Properties, Getty)

A massive lakefront Zale Properties apartment complex caught fire last week, two months before it was set to open.

Flames engulfed the View at Sapphire Bay at about 8:30 p.m. Friday, the Dallas Business Journal reported. One of the project’s two buildings is likely to be demolished, the outlet said. The building was unoccupied, and no injuries were reported.

The 400-unit apartment complex, at 600 Winners Circle in Rowlett, is part of Zale’s $1 billion mixed-use Sapphire Bay development. Plans for the 116-acre development, along the shoreline of Lake Ray Hubbard, include a publicly funded convention center, and a hotel funded by Zale. A lagoon that will be open to the public is also planned.

The developer was expecting certificates of occupancy from the city of Rowlett, Zale Properties’ Marc English told WFAA.

“The fire event will not slow down other vertical construction projects that are already underway, or soon scheduled to be, at the Sapphire Bay project,” English told the TV station.

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It was a dramatic fire that could be seen burning “for some time” by drivers on Interstate 30. Early reports said it likely started in an attic.

The View at Sapphire Bay, which consists of two apartment buildings separated by a parking garage, was estimated to cost nearly $87 million in a 2021 filing with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation. Principal Global Investors provided an eight-year, fixed-rate construction loan of more than $58 million in May of last year.

Property tax reimbursements are funding some of Sapphire Bay’s infrastructure, up to $41 million, including construction of a seawall and road reconstruction.

The apartments are already on the market, listed online for $1,400 to $3,500 a  month for units spanning 535 to 1,600 square feet. That’s under $2.60 per square foot for one- and two-bedroom apartments, which are listed as available in February and March.

It is another setback for the development, which halted in 2019 when relationships soured between the city and a previous developer, but it was revived under Zale’s leadership, the outlet said. 

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