Natural Bridge, Va. (Feb. 6, 2014)— Woltz & Associates, Inc. today announced the sale of Virginia’s historic Natural Bridge and 1,500 surrounding acres to the Virginia Conservation Legacy Fund (VCLF). In the coming years, as part of the terms of the agreement, VCLF will deed Natural Bridge and its surrounding properties to the Commonwealth of Virginia to become a Virginia State Park. This arrangement was made possible because the Bridge’s owner, Angelo Puglisi, generously gifted the Bridge and 188 acres of the property—valued at $21 million—to VCLF.
Since 1988, the Natural Bridge, the hotel, attractions and more have been owned and operated by Washington, DC area real estate developer Angelo Puglisi. He purchased it all with the intent of keeping it accessible to visitors forever.
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Commenting on the new ownership, Puglisi said, “This incredible property is filled with inspiring splendor and history. I am pleased that this national landmark—once owned by Thomas Jefferson and surveyed by George Washington—now has a path into the Virginia State Park system that will allow upcoming generations to enjoy it just as I have enjoyed it.”
Jim Woltz, President of Woltz & Associates, said, “This agreement has been months in the making and we’re very pleased with the result. It’s a great accomplishment to put the last piece of a complicated puzzle together. The result is a tremendous benefit to the region and the state. It would not have happened without such a wonderful owner and seller, Angelo Puglisi.”
Multiple parties—including the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), the Department of Environmental Quality and numerous conservation groups and organizations—worked together to find a solution that was true to Mr. Puglisi’s vision to preserve Natural Bridge and its surroundings for visitors for years to come.
“I admire Mr. Angelo Puglisi and his efforts to conserve Thomas Jefferson’s Natural Bridge for the benefit of future generations. Virginians, indeed all Americans, should be grateful. One of our nation’s most iconic natural landscapes is now protected in perpetuity,” said Joe Elton, Interim Director, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.
VCLF will purchase the balance of the conservation land assets of 1,300 acres with a loan from the Virginia Clean Water Revolving Loan Fund administered by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and the Virginia Resources Authority. Repayment of the loan will be funded through donations and operations of the Bridge. Upon repayment of the loan, the property and operations will be conveyed to DCR—managers of the Virginia State Park system.
The Natural Bridge itself is designated as a Virginia Historic Landmark as well as a National Historic Landmark. Known as one of the world’s natural wonders, the Natural Bridge of Virginia has attracted visitors from around the globe since the time of Thomas Jefferson’s ownership. It is a significant local, regional and national attraction.
Woltz added, “Through the work of many people, Natural Bridge will remain one of the top scenic destinations not only in Virginia but across the U.S.” (news release)