Return to story
University of Mary Washington Foundation continues development of former Park & Shop.
Plans are moving forward on a new road to connect Eagle Village and Mary Washington Hospital.
The University of Mary Washington Foundation and hospital have signed a memorandum of understanding to partner on a short connector road behind Eagle Village. They hope to have one built and open by early next year.
Plans call for the road entering Eagle Village from U.S. 1 to be extended between the hospital and shopping center. The road would go between Snowden at Fredericksburg, a psychiatric hospital, and Kids’ Station, a day care center, and connect with Sam Perry Boulevard.
“We’re pretty sure we’re going to do it,” said Jeff Rountree, CEO of the UMW Foundation, which owns Eagle Village.
Christopher Consultants Ltd. has been hired to draw up specific plans for the road, Rountree said. The project would then be bid out, and if prices came back in an affordable range, the project would proceed.
The drive would be two lanes with sidewalk, lighting, guardrail and fencing. On the hospital side, some of the land would have to be graded. The two sides have looked at four or five concept drawings and have narrowed it to one, said Allen Bryan, administrative director for facilities development and construction for Mary Washington Healthcare.
The road would be open to vehicles, but it’s mostly intended for people walking, riding bikes or being shuttled from the hospital to Eagle Village’s restaurants and other retail stores, Rountree said. The speed limit would probably be 5 mph, and there would be speed bumps.
Rountree said the road would run along the flattest available area to lower costs. The UMW Foundation and hospital would maintain it.
The hospital and UMW Foundation also might partner on an 80- to 100-bed hotel at Eagle Village. It would be built between the Giant supermarket and the planned new road, with parking either behind the site or in the parking garage at Eagle Village.
Existing retail space in that area would be torn down, and the one business that remains (Cash Advance) would be moved to another space at Eagle Village.
The hospital has long wanted a hotel in that area to serve relatives of long-term patients, Rountree said. It could also be used by visiting UMW parents and the public.
The hospital and foundation are debating whether to develop and own the hotel themselves or to lease the land to a developer who would build and own the property. In either scenario, a management company would be hired to operate it.
Rountree said his group has discussed the concept with several hotel management companies and developers, including the group that owns and operates the downtown Courtyard by Marriott. They have also talked to banks about financing, which is tough to get for hotel projects. The deal may involve the hospital and/or university reserving a certain number of rooms.
Rountree said having the road connecting the two properties would be especially valuable if the hotel were built, as people could easily walk back and forth.
He said it would probably be a “select-service” hotel such as a Hyatt Place, Courtyard by Marriott, Hampton Inn or SpringHill Suites—but nothing is set in stone. He said it could be another year or two before the hotel comes together.
It’s possible that a parking deck could be built someday on the land between the hospital and Eagle Village, with the top of the structure level with the rest of the shopping center, Rountree said. Some other structure could then be built over the parking deck. The foundation also envisions a bank to be built near the hotel.
Rountree and other officials with the city and UMW briefed businesses along the U.S. 1 corridor on those plans during a lunch meeting yesterday at the Jepson Alumni Executive Center. Among the other items discussed were:
UMW wants to build a pedestrian walk over William Street to connect to its apartments there. The walkway probably wouldn’t be as ornate as the bridge over U.S. 1, said Rick Pearce, UMW’s acting vice president for administration and finance. UMW also plans to build more parking and academic space and renovate its residence halls and athletic complexes. It also is focused on a new student center.
The Home Team Grill could open this weekend at Eagle Village, and Babaganoush hopes to open in mid-April. The UMW Foundation is in discussions to bring Thai, pizza and burger restaurants to some of the remaining new retail space at Eagle Village. Just about all of the older retail space at the shopping center is now leased. The foundation also has letters of intent for about 6,600 square feet of office space at the center.
Gov. Bob McDonnell’s transportation plan set aside $35 million for the Fall Hill Avenue improvement project, said Fredericksburg Planning Director Ray Ocel. Plans call for Fall Hill being connected to Mary Washington Boulevard, and for the remaining part of Fall Hill to U.S. 1 being used primarily for local traffic.
The project could also involve a second bridge being built over Interstate 95 as part of Fall Hill’s widening.
Eventually another road could be built between State Route 3 and Fall Hill Avenue, opening up development back there. It will be a years-long project.
—Staff reporter Jim Hall contributed to this report.
Bill Freehling: 540/374-5405