RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- A 215-foot-high stone bridge once owned by Thomas Jefferson, a centuries-old tourist attraction, has been sold by its private owner at a fraction of its value to a conservation group.
Natural Bridge is destined to become part of Virginia's park system.
Under a complex deal sealed today in Washington, D.C., real estate developer Angelo Puglisi accepted $8.6 million for the 1,500-plus-acre property in southwest Virginia. The land includes the 90-foot-long limestone bridge. Puglisi will receive tax credits for the bridge, which is valued at $21 million. The property, in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley, includes a hotel and cabins.
Once the Virginia Conservation Legacy Fund repays the loan it used to pay Puglisi, the attraction will be transferred to Virginia as a state park. That could occur as early as 2015.
George Washington surveyed the property, and Jefferson called it "the most Sublime of Nature's Work."Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.