About the Silverlaken Estate & The Bellamy Family
In the mid/late 1800’s, Perry was a thriving mill town and Silver Lake was a popular tourist destination for church retreats and private camps. The water running down the outlet of Silver Lake provided the hydropower for a dozen textile mills in what is now the Perry Main Street. Silverlaken’s lodge building was the summer retreat of the Traber family, who owned a large mill in town. Long before air conditioning, wealthy families escaped the heat by coming to the shores of the lake. The Traber family placed a decorative mill stone on the front lawn over a hundred years ago. It’s still there in the same place! The massive evergreens and sycamore trees were planted back in that era, and are still standing proud well over 150 years later. What is now the utility room was a “sleeping porch”. ½ of the bedroom was indoors and the rest on the porch. When it was hot, the bed was pushed out on the deck!
By the time of the First World War, hydropower was replaced by the engine and the mills began to close up. The property changed hands a few times and fell into a state of disrepair for decades. The estate’s current owner, Mike Bellamy, spent his childhood on the lake and worked at the local marina in the 1980’s before heading off to college. After a 20-year career in Asia, Mike retired in 2016, returned to Silver Lake with his family, purchased the Traber estate and renamed it “Silverlaken”. Three years were spent arranging permits, planting native trees, landscaping, restoring the main buildings, adding solar panels, installing rental units and upgrading infrastructure (power, gas, water, sewer). In 2019, Derek & April Orf came onboard as managing partners in the business. When you visit the lake, you may also run into Bruce the caretaker, Laurie the master gardener as well as Dana & Caroline the housekeeping team. Mike collects Qing dynasty furniture & art as a hobby. Some of the pieces decorating the Silverlaken Estate are well over 200 years old. Please feel free to ask your hosts for a tour of the collection if you are interested.
In 2016 the multi-million dollar project was launch and 3 lots were acquired in the lake district, creating the longest strip of privately held waterfront on Silver Lake.
After consultation with the relevant authorities and neighbors, a site plan was finalized and the land was transferred to Laken Holdings/ Silverlaken LLC. A Special Use Permit was granted, allowing Silverlaken to offer unique accommodations and water-centric recreation to a targeted segment of the 700,000+ tourists who visit Letchworth State park each year. Silverlaken was accepted into the PILOT program and enjoy the support of the Wyoming County IDA (http://www.wycoida.org/ida-incentives).
We are proud of our small part in helping the local community tackle the following issues:
- Job Creation - In addition to the dozens of contractors involved during the construction phase, we are now starting the process of recruiting various full and part time staff.
- Sustainable Taxation - At present, the majority of private cottage rentals on the lake don’t report rental income nor pay the required occupancy tax. Silverlaken proudly pays all required business and transactional taxes, thus helping to reduce the tax burden placed on local homeowners.
- Knowledge Capital - We wish to help grow the tourism sector in our area by using internships and mentorships to facilitate the transfer of knowledge to the next generation of local entrepreneurs & business people.
- Tourism - As our target customers are not local, we are doing our small part to help grow the net-inflow of tourist dollars to Wyoming county. So important these days when you consider our local manufacturing base has been eroded and many farmers in the Dairy industry are struggling.
“Going green and respecting the environment is not just for marketing, it’s the foundation of the project. We really want to show that vacation properties, in terms of construction and guests’ footprints, can be both luxurious AND carbon neutral, maybe even carbon negative.” The team at Silverlaken believes that a business can be both profitable and have sound environmental stewardship. For example:
- Almost 17,140 sq. feet have been marked as green buffer zones around the exterior of the property.
- In terms of the number of rental units per acre, Silverlaken will have a tiny fraction of the full number allowed by zoning.
- Rental units are made with methods and materials that lower their carbon footprint.
- On May 15th 2018, we turned on the solar panel and now the meter runs backwards!
- It would have been a lot easier and quicker to bulldoze the old cottage. Instead it was renovated and given a new life as the Silverlaken Lodge.
- We are committed to clearing invasive plants and replacing them with trees native to our area. Honey suckle and Japanese ironweed have been eradicated.
- The old break wall was replaced but not extended. There aren’t many places on the lake where the trees are thick down to the waterline and we aim to preserve the woodland features of our plot.
- Silverlaken has consulted the USDA and other groups in order to restore the riparian areas of the property as it wasn’t maintained for almost 15 years. For example, Silverlaken has added multiple, small decorative pond, not just for scenic beauty, but because they also catch the excess nutrients from the farms upstream before it hits the lake.