The Natural Bridge of Virginia is closing temporarily as the historic attraction prepares for new ownership, but a deal now close to completion could bring long-term stability

More information on the new owners and their plans for the property could come as early as next week.

"It's a very complicated deal involving a whole lot of different organizations and people," said real estate broker Jim Woltz.

He said he believes the end result will be very positive for the region.

Natural Bridge General Manager Don Henk said that's important to the current owner.

"He wants to make sure that we find the right ownership group that is going to  both conserve the land and the bridge itself," Henk said, " but also keep that focus on the tourism aspect that's key for the property, the county and the region."


Original story from Jan. 1, 2014

WDBJ7 has learned The Natural Bridge of Virginia, including the hotel, is temporarily shutting down.

The following statement was posted on the attraction's website:

The Natural Bridge of Virginia/Natural Bridge Hotel will temporarily suspend operations in January so we can focus on a transition to new ownership. The hotel will be closed Jan. 2 to approximately Jan. 25. The Natural Bridge attraction will be closed Jan. 6 to approximately Jan. 25. Please check back for more information. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Once owned by Thomas Jefferson, said to have been surveyed by a young George Washington, traversed by Civil War soldiers - the Natural Bridge is a portal to history.

An employee at the hotel told WDBJ 7 that customers with reservations for the month of January were notified of the closing.

Many say winter is not a busy season for the attraction so they don't expect it to take too much of a financial hit.

"Temporarily it may put a hamper on it, but I don't think it's going to be a big deal," said resident Wesley Presnell. "I mean you have other tourist destinations like VMI, Washington and Lee, there's quite a few other places in the county and you know people that won't visit there will visit Lexington."

WDBJ 7 wanted to find out just how many people will be without a job due to the closing, but calls made to a media spokeswoman were not returned Wednesday.

Natural Bridge was scheduled to be auctioned off a few times in the last few months, but it was pushed back.

According to the auctioneer's website, a tentative agreement had been reached on the sale.