Westlake Cinema at Smith Mountain Lake Announces Digital Cinema Conversion

Westlake Cinema is scheduled to begin converting to digital cinema in late April. The process will take approximately one week and plans to debut its new technology with the release of Marvel’s The Avengers on Friday, May 4th.

There are a number of advantages converting to digital cinema. “The viewing quality will greatly improve the overall movie going experience and we will now have the capabilities to show 3-D (three –dimensional) movies,” stated Thomas Althoff, General Manager at Westlake Cinema.

Althoff added that a premium of $3.50 will be set for 3-D movies, which is industry standard.

Converting to digital cinema consists of replacing traditional 35MM film with an electronic copy. This removes any of the image degradation seen with traditional 35MM projection systems.  Westlake Cinema partnered with Sonic Equipment Company based in Iola, Kansas for the project. They will be installing industry leading Christie® DLP Cinema® projectors.

According to Lee Willard, Vice President of Corporate Holding at The Willard Companies, owners of Westlake Cinema, “Converting to digital is a good business decision. Although there is a large cost in doing so, we believe it will provide a better financial future for Westlake Cinema. Not only will our theater be able to play 3-D movies, but we have also positioned ourselves to be on the cutting edge with high frame-rate technology. We are very excited to bring the 3-D and digital movie experience to the local community so folks no longer have to drive outside of the area to enjoy.” The projectors will have the ability to play the newest “high frame-rate” films such as The Hobbit this December, Willard added.

The company estimates the conversion costs around $275,000 to complete. Westlake Cinema will continue to operate business as usual without any interruption to hours of operation.  Future 3-D showings will include Men in Black III, Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted, Prometheus, The Amazing Spider-Man, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and Ice Age 4: Continental Drift.


About Westlake Cinema (www.westlakecinema.) – Westlake Cinema is a 13,800-square-foot cinema featuring a four-plex movie theater with stadium seating, concessions and games. In addition, Westlake Cinema offers Dolby® Digital Surround Sound and optional headphones hooked to a USL Infrared Hearing System for those with hearing impairments. Westlake Cinema’s goal is to offer moviegoers an upscale theater with first run movies, state of the art sound system and full service concession area.

About Sonic Equipment Company (www.sonicequipment.com) – Sonic Equipment Company is a leading provider of sales, service, installation, new construction, remodeling, and consulting to community-owned theatres and independent exhibitors. They staff a fully trained and certified group of technicians, installers, and sales managers to meet the needs of today’s growing digital cinema industry.

Smith Mountain Lake Business Expo

The 9th Annual Smith Mountain Lake Business Expo will be held on Friday, April 27th, in Downtown Moneta.  The exposition will be set up on the southwest side of Rt. 122 and Rt. 608 – across from Mayberry Hills.  Hours are Noon to 5 p.m.  We expect 120 businesses to be represented in four large tents on the parking lot as well as outside exhibits.  Contact Jim Shauberger at the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce (540-721-1203) for more information.

NEW for 2012, “Your Business Connection”, a service connecting job seekers with employers, along with small business startup information.

Representatives from the Virginia Employment Commission and Small Business Development Center, Longwood will be available to assist business owners, job seekers and new business startups. To list a job opening, email the business name, job title, description, and contact information to annette@visitsmithmountainlake.com.

Tax Considerations for Smith Mountain Lake Home-buyers, Sellers

Tax season is upon us and for those who purchased or sold a Smith Mountain Lake home last year, there are a number of tax deductions for which you may qualify.

For starters, the Internal Revenue Service says that if you have a gain from the sale of your main home, you may be able to exclude up to $250,000 of the gain from your income as a single tax filer, or $500,000 on a joint return in most cases.

Here are some other factors to keep in mind:

1: Much of the interest paid on a mortgage is tax-deductible. A married couple filing jointly can deduct all of their interest on a maximum of $1 million in mortgage debt secured by a first or second home.

2: Real estate broker commissions, title insurance, legal fees, advertising costs, administrative costs, and inspection fees are all considered selling costs and may be used to reduce one’s taxable capital gain by the amount of the selling costs.

3: Refinanced mortgage points are deductible, but not all at once. Homeowners who refinance can immediately write off the balance of the old points and begin to amortize the new. Interest paid on a home equity loan or similar line of credit may also be deducted.

4: Points and origination fees on a home loan, which are paid during the purchase of a home, are generally tax-deductible in full for the year that they were paid.

5: Qualifying capital improvements can sometimes be deducted, including costs of a new roof, fence, swimming pool, garage, porch, built-in appliances, insulation, heating/cooling systems or landscaping.

6: If you move because of a new job, you may be able to deduct some of your moving costs. To qualify for these deductions you must meet several IRS requirements, including that your new job must be at least 50 miles farther from your old home than your previous job. Moving-cost deductions can include travel or transportation costs, lodging expenses, and fees for storing your household goods.

7: Property taxes are fully deductible from your income. If you have an impound or escrow account, you can’t deduct the money held for property taxes until the money is actually used to pay your property taxes. And a city or state property tax refund reduces your federal deduction by a like amount.

8: For those who took advantage of the first-time homebuyer credit the past two years: If within 36 months of the date of purchase, the property is no longer used as your principal residence, you are required to repay the credit.

9: Another important tip for those who moved is to make sure you update your address with the IRS and the U.S. Postal Service to ensure you receive refunds or correspondence from the IRS.

Since tax laws change every year and certain tax deductions become available while others phase out, it’s always a good idea to speak with a professional tax consultant about these and other considerations.

The Willard Companies Purchase Second Bridgewater Pad and Bridgewater Grande Properties

The Willard Companies has purchased two properties including the existing pad for a second 48-unit condominium project at Bridgewater Pointe as well as Bridgewater Grande, a 30 acre track featuring 5,900’ +/- water frontage. The properties were purchased for $5.6 million and closed on Friday, March 30.

“We are very excited about being involved in future plans for a second tower at Bridgewater Pointe and the Bridgewater Grande development. These projects will bring economic development to the Smith Mountain Lake region, which has continued to rebound from the recession,” said Ron Willard, President of The Willard Companies. In 2010, The Willard Companies was involved in the marketing of the first tower, featuring 48-units that sold out in 2 ½ hours during a lottery style sale.

Development for the second 48-unit project will mirror the architecture of the exiting condominium tower and plans for Bridgewater Grande will include residential and commercial mix on 30 acres.

Willard started his development and construction company in 1973. “For us, the timing of this investment made excellent business sense. Not only were we able to purchase at attractive pricing, but the location of these properties are within a few miles from our office headquarters and in close proximity to all of our company subsidiaries,” said Willard.

The Willard Companies is the umbrella for Willard Construction of Roanoke Valley, Inc., Prudential Waterfront Properties, The Waterfront, The Water’s Edge and The Westlake Golf and Country Clubs. The company is involved in country clubs, building, developing, marketing and real estate. The Willard Companies is also affiliated with Westlake Towne Center, Westlake Cinema, Westlake Salon & Spa, Window and Door Design Gallery and Smith Mountain Building Supply. Visit online at www.thewillardcompanies.com.


Congrats 2011 Prudential Award Winners

Prudential Real Estate and Relocation Services announced its 2011 Sales Professional award winners at its annual convention in Orlando, Florida. Eight Prudential Waterfront Properties REALTORS® were recognized for exemplifying great sales measures in closed residential GCI or closed residential units for 2011. A breakdown of the awards winners are as follows:

Chairman’s Circle Platinum

Vicki Millehan / Debbie Shelton


Chairman’s Circle Gold

Jane Sullivan Horne


Leading Edge

Eric and Tom “Team” Fansler


Honor Society Award

Van Daniel

Michelle Turner

Dana Montgomery


“These award winners are ranked among the best of the best in the Prudential Real Estate Network. These REALTORS® are the consummate professionals, who work tirelessly to help their clients’ fulfill their real estate needs,” said Cathie Daniel, Principal Broker.