Sunday, March 01, 2009

Bernard’s Landing

Residents and visitors to Bernard’s Landing soon will have several new reasons to enjoy one of Smith Mountain Lake’s most established communities.

            The development’s clubhouse – a circa 1853 brick structure – is undergoing renovations that will update and expand the facility, adding a new fitness room, an all-sports court for basketball and racquetball, expansive decks and a new indoor pool and hot tub.

            Jim Webster, president of the homeowners’ association at Bernard’s Landing, said each of the 271 homeowners paid a one-time assessment fee of $4,000 for the project. The proceeds added up to a little more than $1 million, which didn’t quite cover all of the costs involved. Webster said the renovation will total about $1.6 million with the difference to come from profits received from vacation rentals and funds set aside in the HOA statuary reserves.

            Plans for the new clubhouse began in the spring of 2005, but Webster said it wasn’t until October of 2007 that 89 percent of residents voted to approve the plans to expand and update the development’s facilities.

            "They’re smart and they get it," he said. "They know you can’t just let your property sit and deteriorate."

            The age of the original clubhouse made renovation plans tricky, Webster said. Construction workers had to update and add on while leaving the original building almost untouched. Lori Phillips, Director of Conference Sales for Bernard’s Landing, said the historic portion of the clubhouse will receive only a minor face-lift. The addition to the property will involve digging out the hill behind the basement that faces the lake.

            Wayne Burris, a real estate agent with RE/MAX Lakefront Realty, has owned property at Bernard’s Landing with his wife Cynthia since 1986. He said they are looking forward to bringing their grandkids to enjoy the new clubhouse this summer.

            "The fitness room was downstairs, and it just wasn’t a lot of fun," said Wayne Burris. "What the renovations and additions will do is update what we’ve got. With the new facility, we’ll have just about everything but a golf course."

            Carl Smith, the development’s general manager, explained that the new decks will add much-needed outdoor square footage for parties, receptions and reunions regularly booked at the clubhouse. But, he said, the new design will really showcase the club’s best feature – Smith Mountain Lake.

            "It’s all been designed to take into account the fact that we are sitting on the lake," said Smith. "There will be floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the lake in the exercise room."

            The cabana bar is planned to reopen Memorial Day weekend on the upper deck, along with the outdoor pool. The new clubhouse is planned to reopen sometime in July, said Phillips, who has started booking events for dates after Aug. 1. She said she’s already seen an increase in bookings for weddings planned for this year.