Warm Mineral Springs' rebirth
By Eric Ernst
At Warm Mineral Springs, "Water is the real deal".
NORTH PORT – Cypress Lending called Gene Vaccaro in 2009 to inspect one of their delinquent accounts. The national company, based in Dallas, knew of Vaccaro's work with distressed properties, and management wanted to know what they'd have on their hands if they foreclosed a property called Warm Mineral Springs.
So, Vaccaro and his wife, Elaine, threw their swimsuits and towels in the car and headed from Naples to North Port.
What they found at the springs shocked them, he says. Employees were smoking behind the counter. Yellow tape encircled the restrooms, which were out of order. The gift shop was empty. The cafe was closed. (“Thank God it was closed,” he says.) Small waterways at the entrance were clogged with algae. The fountains did not run. Rusted-out handrails led bathers to the spring-fed sinkhole.