Natural Bridge for sale

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NATURAL BRIDGE, Va. -- MUST SEE! Spectacular limestone formation, good condition. Age: about 500 million years. Newer addition may need TLC. Asking $32.5 million.

The owners of Natural Bridge are putting the 215-foot-high landmark on the market, along with 1,600 acres that includes a hotel, gift shop, wax museum, caverns, hiking area and rock formation.

The arched 90-foot span is a national and state historic landmark, and is marketed as one of the world's natural wonders although it doesn't make current lists. The Rockbridge County site draws about 200,000 visitors a year, according to The Roanoke Times.

The property is being sold not out of financial difficulty but because three of the eight owners are in their 80s, according to David Kleppinger, executive director of the Rockbridge Partnership, a regional economic development organization.

"My understanding is they're at a point in their life that it's just time to sell and put the property in someone else's hands," Kleppinger said.

Summit Commercial Real Estate in Washington, D.C., and Sperry Van Ness Real Estate in Lynchburg are brokering the property, which the sellers have owned for about 18 years.

Sperry Van Ness managing broker Ed Koepenick said his company expects to market the bridge worldwide.

The real estate firm is also talking to hotel chains, he said. The 158-room hotel was built in the 1960s and needs modern upgrades, Koepenick said.

Kleppinger said he expects the attraction to remain open to the public.

Along with undeveloped land, the property includes an abandoned golf course.

The bridge has ties to the nation's early history. Legend has it that the initials "G.W." on it were carved by a young George Washington as he surveyed the property in 1750.

The formation was purchased by Thomas Jefferson in 1774 from King George III of England for 20 shillings. That would be about $2.40 for the rock formation and 157 acres of surrounding land.

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