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University of Mary Washington Foundation applying for incentives for Eagle Village hotel
Incentives could help the UMW Foundation develop a new hotel at Eagle Village.
file/ROBERT A. MARTIN/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
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BY BILL FREEHLING
The project, which would be the second phase for the mixed-use development off U.S. 1 across from UMW's campus, could be the first in the area to take advantage of an upcoming change in state law that allows tourism-related developments to be reimbursed for a portion of the sales tax generated.
The UMW Foundation is pursuing a five-story, 96-room hotel on a two-acre site between the Giant supermarket and a new road that would connect to Mary Washington Hospital. The hotel would cater to families of hospital patients and university students but would be open to the public.
The brand has not been finalized, but it would be a "select-service" hotel such as a Hyatt Place, Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott or Home2 Suites by Hilton. A third-party company would be hired to operate it. The foundation is shooting for a mid-2013 completion.
The roughly $13 million project would include about 1,500 square feet of meeting space and 6,000 square feet of retail. About 25,000 square feet of existing retail space in that area would be torn down, and any remaining businesses relocated.
UMW Foundation CEO Jeff Rountree said financial incentives are "critical" to obtaining bank financing and moving the hotel forward. The foundation's board has approved the project, which is expected to create 55 full-time jobs and 15 part-time positions.
On Tuesday night, Fredericksburg City Council will consider an incentive agreement that would allow the hotel to receive up to a $310,000 refund in the local sales taxes generated over 10 years. The hotel is expected to generate about $3.27 million for the city in tax revenues over 10 years, meaning the city would net nearly $3 million after incentives were paid, assuming it performs as anticipated.
To qualify for the incentives, the hotel would have to hit performance benchmarks including opening by the end of 2014, investing at least $11 million, employing at least 40 people, providing free display space for local artists and generating at least $130,000 in tax revenues to the city annually.