High-Rise Condo Project Planned in Walker Co., Ala.

A high-rise condominium development is being planned on the site of a Boys & Girls Club summer camp on Smith Lake in Walker County.

Construction on the first 100-unit building of Duncan Bridge Resorts South is expected to begin in January, said Tarrie Hyche, one of three partners in the development.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Alabama Inc. decided in the summer to sell the 46-year-old Camp Jimmy Goodwin, said Roy Bragg, a member of the group's board. The sale is scheduled to close by Nov. 10, he said.

Hyche said the 66-acre site is attractive because it is close to Jasper but also backs up to the undeveloped Bankhead National Forest. ''That lakefront property is excellent,'' he said.

Construction on the first phase is estimated to cost $35 million to $40 million, Hyche said. That includes the first building, fitness center, pool, outdoor fire pits and hot tubs, docks with valet service for boat dry storage, and a public restaurant.

B.L. Harbert International LLC will be the general contractor, and the architect is Goodwyn, Mills & Cawood Inc. of Montgomery, Hyche said.

Financing is through First National Bank of Jasper, he said.

The first building is to include 65 three-bedroom units and 20 two-bedroom units in a 10-story section and 15 penthouses in a 14-story section, Hyche said. Prices for the two- and threebedroom units will start at $350,000 and pent-houses at $750,000.

Amenities are to include granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, cultured marble in the bathrooms and balconies with views of the lake.

Hyche's partners in the development are Wayne Riggs of Hamilton and Ralph Summerford of Birmingham. Hyche and Riggs also are partners on the 52-unit Duncan Bridge Resort, just north on Alabama 257. All units in that first development have been sold and construction on the third and final building is under way.

Duncan Bridge was the first condominium development of its type on Smith Lake. Another developer, Crane Hill Development, is nearing completion of its 48-unit Waterford Condominium at Ryan Creek. Two units remain for sale.

A third development announced last year by another set of developers has not materialized.

Appeal to beachgoers

Interest in lakeside condominium living has been high, Hyche said. A few who have moved into the first Duncan Bridge development were looking to get away from condominiums on the beach that have been subject to damage by hurricanes, Hyche said.

Developers are holding a public sale this weekend at Duncan Bridge Resorts South, but already 40 people have put up $5,000 each to reserve units, Hyche said.

Development of the entire site will take up to 10 years, Hyche said. Long-range plans include three other 100-unit buildings and a possible hotel and nearby golf course, he said.

Camp Jimmy Goodwin opened in 1960 and has been used during the summer for day- and week-long camps. ''American Idol'' winner Ruben Studdard is among its alumni.

Why sell now? Tom Cleckler, president and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Alabama, said more homes have been built around the Duncan Bridge area and boat traffic on the lake has increased. That makes it less attractive for wilderness camp activities such as swimming and canoeing, he said.

Land also has become very valuable in the area and club officials decided they could use the money to reach more youngsters, club officials said. They declined to release the sale price.

''We're not going to give up any programs as a result of the sale.,'' Bragg said. ''We still hope to be able to offer camping experiences, but I can't tell you exactly how we're going to do it.''


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