Appalachian Power auctions off hundreds of acres at Smith Mountain Lake

Published: Dec. 6, 2021 at 1:41 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 6, 2021 at 1:42 PM EST
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SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Hundreds of acres of land and an Appalachian Power training facility at Smith Mountain Lake now have new ownership.

“We put the Penn Hall training facility as well as about 350 acres up for sale,” says George Porter, spokesperson for Appalachian Power. “Our real estate team is always looking at opportunities to auction off or dispose of unused land or facilities. Over the last couple of years, we looked at some opportunities to maybe sell some land at Penn Hall as well as Smith Mountain Lake. We vetted opportunities to see would it be possible to keep it, and it was decided to go ahead and put it on auction.”

The Penn Hall facility was used by the company for decades, but less so during the pandemic.

“The pandemic taught us a lot about in-person training,” explains Porter. “We realized we can do a lot of training virtually. The pandemic pushed us away from in-person training. I’m sure our employees will miss that opportunity because it was such a beautiful landscape, eight-bedroom, six-bath-type facility where you could come and enjoy the lake views as well as the dam, but most of them understand that it was a business opportunity.”

A business opportunity that sold roughly 40 parcels, about 30 of them lakefront, for $16.2 million.

“We’re looking at returning that back into our regular operating budget,” he says. “We don’t have any specific details on what we are going to do with exactly that money, but it was an exciting opportunity, and we are excited for those who were able to get property.”

Appalachian Power says it will continue to evaluate the land around the lake it’s owned since the ‘60s.

“We still own hundreds of acres. We’re still going to hold on to that, to look at potential future land use for our hydro department, which is Smith Mountain Power and Smith Mountain Hydroelectric dam and surrounding areas.”

Porter says this is the second time the company has held an auction for land at the lake, and that it is possible they could hold another in the coming years.

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