In the go-go days earlier in this decade, Smith Mountain Lake stood proud as the poster child for conspicuous economic consumption with million dollar homes, six-figure speedboats and a lavish lifestyle that revolved around good times, easy credit and stretched finances.
But the economic recession brought reality to the lifestyle of the not-so-rich and more infamous than famous.
Bankruptcies, unfinished projects and empty, foreclosed homes now line the lakefront and surrounding areas. Smith Mountain Lake developer Edward “Trey Park” listed more than 100 creditors and $50 million in debts when he filed for bankruptcy in 2009. In June of this year, Timothy Scott Banks and Adam Spruill, two high-flying 3o-something mortgage brokers admitted guilt in a fraud scheme that bilked housing lenders out of $7 million on Smith Mountain Lake properties.
Weeds fill the parking lot of a planned — and now abandoned — upscale retail area. Only nine homes of a planned 1500 residences were built in the now foreclosed Sunset Cay development and those nine were auctioned off. All but two sit empty.
Along the lakefront that sprawls through Bedford, Frankin and Pittsylvania counties, multi-million dollar homes sit empty, abandoned by those who walked away from huge mortgages they could no longer afford to pay. Most of those mortgages are “underwater,” meaning the previous owners owed more than the property is worth.
Smith Mountain Lake’s list of bankrupt, former high-flyers also include Bridgewater Point Parters and Bridgewater Grande Partners, developers of projects at Bridgewater Pointe at Hales Ford.
Bridgewater Pointe, a mid-rise condo unit at Hales Ford, sat empty for nearly two years before Atlas Companies, hired by mortgage holder Baltimore Bank & Trust to liquidate the property, sold off the 48 units last month in a lottery.