Smith Mountain Lake, VA (June 12, 2015) –The Willard Companies, owner of The Water’s Edge, a private 712 acre development that includes an 18-hole PGA Championship course and a private 36,000 sq. ft. country club nestled along 13.5 miles of Smith Mountain Lake shoreline, announced plans to move forward with selling the project. The golf course and country club will also be packaged with a 12,000 sq. ft. gated estate and primary residence of Ron Willard, Sr., president of the company. Ron Willard II, Associate Broker and vice president of the company, will list the properties through Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Smith Mountain Lake Real Estate, a Willard subsidiary, for $25 million.
Willard, Sr., one of the leading developers at Smith Mountain Lake, announced his plans to start strategically implementing his retirement and determining a succession plan for the company last fall. According to Christopher Finley, director of marketing and communications for The Willard Companies, “Willard, Sr., honoring a first opportunity given to neighborhood’s homeowners association in the 1990s, initially offered the purchase to the membership in October 2014. The homeowners association formed a committee to study the prospects of buying the club and becoming member-owned, but didn’t garner unanimous support from the membership to proceed.”
Willard, Sr. has spent the last 40 years of his career transforming Smith Mountain Lake into a resort area that has attracted people from across the country to enjoy golf, recreation, and resort living. “I’ll be turning 70 next year and I’m ready to downsize, travel and enjoy my golden years,” stated Willard, Sr. He also plans to continue residing in the community post sale as well as part-time in his Naples, Florida home.
According to Willard, Sr., the sale will not affect the golf course and country club operations, which currently employs approximately 75 staff. He added that The Willard Companies plans to continue managing the business until they find the right buyer. “This truly is a prime investment opportunity boasting location, space and value. We have utilized a proven business model that continues to produce a lucrative cash flow,” stated Willard, Sr. The country club is supported by the established residential neighborhoods surrounding the properties, which together account for 450 memberships with potential to grow to 600. As part of the sale, Willard, Sr. said his company would entertain offering a management proposal to partner with the buyer to continue operating the facilities.
The Willard Companies also own both The Waterfront Country Club located in Moneta and The Westlake in Hardy. Currently, The Water’s Edge is the only entity under The Willard Companies umbrella that has been offered for sale. The exact timeframe for Willard’s retirement has not been identified as the outcome of The Water’s Edge sale will affect Willard’s strategy moving forward. Willard’s two sons, Ron Willard II and Lee Willard, serve as vice presidents and will continue to run its various businesses. “I’m committed to the Smith Mountain Lake community and I will execute an exit strategy that is best suited for my family, the membership and employees,” stated Willard, Sr.
The Willard estate is positioned on 6.3 acres with over 1,235’ of water frontage and boasts Old World Architecture with seven bedrooms, eight bathrooms, three car garage, guest suite, swimming pool and 3,000 sq. ft. dock with gazebo. The European inspired exterior of the property showcases Arkansas stone, Wood Moulded brick, Western Red Cedar siding, columns, slate and copper roofing, and chimney pots that exceed 200 years old.
The Water’s Edge golf course was originally designed by the late R.F. Loving, Jr., ASGC, a nationally renowned golf course architect. In 2007, the golf course was renovated by golf course architect Richard Mandell and Aspen Corporation. Mandell sought to maintain Loving’s “bunker style” architecture, with geometric rounded edges and serpentine lines. Among the $5.2 million dollar improvements: A1 and A4 bentgrass greens with more manageable playing slopes, updated irrigation system, reconfigured sand bunkers, enlarged free-form tee boxes, and removed trees for playability as well as breathability of the turf.
The Water’s Edge clubhouse features dining and bar areas, men’s lounge, and fitness center. Additional amenities include tennis courts, Jr. Olympic size pool, practice facility, pro shop, 48-seat historic chapel and 36-acre fully equipped equestrian center.
For media inquiries about the sale of The Water’s Edge and Willard estate, contact Christopher Finley at 540-721-5288.
The Willard Companies is the umbrella for Willard Construction of Roanoke Valley, Inc., Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Smith Mountain Lake Real Estate, The Waterfront, The Water’s Edge and The Westlake golf and country Clubs. The company is involved in country clubs, building, developing, marketing and real estate. The Willard Companies is also affiliated with Westlake Towne Center, Westlake Cinema, Westlake Salon& Spa, The Cabinet Gallery, Window & Door Design Gallery and Smith Mountain Building Supply. Visit online at www.thewillardcompanies.com.