"Our fiscal study shows it would be profitable after it reaches its [projected] occupancy rate and revenue intake," Caplinger said. "That usually takes about three years to build up."
As envisioned, the lodge would have 75 rooms, a combination indoor-outdoor pool, a full-service restaurant, and meeting space for groups of up to 200 people.
"And since we'd be on the lakeshore, we'd probably also have a courtesy dock so boaters could tie up to the dock, walk up to the lodge and have lunch," Caplinger said.
The lodge's appearance, he added, would closely parallel the rustic-yet-modern vibe of the Chief Logan facility, which in turn was modeled after the lodge at Stonewall Jackson Resort.
Ordinarily, construction projects the size and scope of the Beech Fork lodge would have parks officials fretting about where the money might come from. Caplinger said that wouldn't be a concern this time.
"Last year, the Legislature passed a bill that would allow the sale of lottery bonds to finance the project," he explained. "Money from the lottery would be used to retire the bonds. This way we get a lodge without having to carry a debt load for 15 to 20 years.
"The local delegates and senators, along with the Wayne County HubCAP [development] group, should get a lot of credit for that. They were very instrumental in securing legislative support for the funding."
Caplinger said the Parks Section has about a year and a half's worth of work to do before it secures final approval from Corps of Engineers officials.
"If we achieve the final lease in November 2014 as we anticipate, we're looking at a potential start of construction in March 2015 and an opening in September of 2016," he added. "Based on our studies, this could be quite a good project for all concerned. It would make money, it would hire local folks, and it would bring tourism to a part of the state that doesn't get as much as it should. I think it's a potential winner all around."
Reach John McCoy at 304-348-1231 or e-mail johnmc...@wvgazette.com.