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New life along an old road
U.S. 1 in Fredericksburg experiencing economic revival

 New properties (foreground) have sprung up next to original ones at Eagle Village on U.S. 1. The area is enjoying an economic revival.
photos by ROBERT A. MARTIN/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
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Date published: 9/4/2010

BY BILL FREEHLING

Nearly $200 million in public and private investments over the past several years have led to an economic revival along U.S. 1 in Fredericksburg.

The University of Mary Washington Foundation's Eagle Village project is responsible for more than half that tally, but several other projects have also breathed life into the stretch of U.S. 1 between Fall Hill Avenue and Cowan Boulevard.

"There's some really good energy over there," said Karen Hedelt, Fredericksburg's director of economic development and tourism.

That much is clear on a short drive down the somewhat shopworn U.S. 1 corridor. After passing Fall Hill Avenue, southbound travelers will see a building on the right that used to be an El Paso Mexican Restaurant now being transformed into a Verizon Wireless store. On the left is James Monroe High School, a 198,000-square-foot, $37.2 million project that first opened in September 2006.

Up the hill ahead, past the vibrant Mary Washington Hospital campus, a 214-foot red brick pedestrian bridge over U.S. 1 connects Eagle Village to UMW's main campus. Designed with cupola-topped towers and enclosed with a roof and glass sides, the bridge is a striking new landmark, particularly when lit up at night.

The bridge is part of the $115 million first phase of Eagle Village. The Roses department store and Twi-Lite Motel are gone from a center formerly called Park & Shop, and a new high-tech sign is up. The new mixed-use complex includes apartment-style residences filled with 624 UMW students, a secured parking garage, and retail and office space.

The Home Team Grill, Salad Creations, Lee's Cleaners, Quiznos, Pancho Villa Express and Blackstone Coffee have already signed leases for the new retail space and are expected to start opening in the next couple of months. More restaurants and other businesses are expected to be announced soon.

The UMW Foundation has already moved into new office space at the complex, and the UMW Office of University Relations and Communications is heading there soon. CBAI & Associates, a defense contractor, is expected to open there by the end of November.


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