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UMW, MWHC driving growth along U.S. 1 in city
BY BILL FREEHLING
Two of Fredericksburg's largest forces for economic development are driving changes along the U.S. 1 corridor.
Mary Washington Healthcare and the University of Mary Washington, as well as UMW's private foundation, have developed significant projects of late in the city, including a regional cancer center and the first phase of the Eagle Village mixed-use development.
On Tuesday, executives from the organizations--MWHC Vice President Marie Fredrick and UMW Foundation CEO Jeff Rountree--updated business owners along the U.S. 1 corridor about what is coming next.
The winding Eagle Village Drive between Eagle Village and Mary Washington Hospital is expected to open as soon as this weekend. Officials from both organizations expect that to boost business at Eagle Village and make it easier for guests at the planned Hyatt Place hotel to access the hospital campus.
Some concern was raised at Tuesday's meeting, which was organized by city economic development staff and held at the Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce, about the new street leading to traffic buildups at the main exit from Eagle Village onto U.S. 1.
Fredrick and Rountree said traffic will be closely monitored, but the street's curving nature, low speed limits and road humps should limit the vehicle numbers. The stoplight at U.S. 1 might be adjusted.
Construction on the 93-room Hyatt Place is expected to start in a couple of months and last about 14 months. The 66,500-square-foot facility will be between the Giant food store and the main road running through Eagle Village. The vacant retail space there now will be demolished.
Among the other Eagle Village updates Rountree gave Tuesday were that Sweet Frog frozen yogurt intends to open Friday, the second-annual concert series at the complex is planned this summer, Country Cookin will do a major renovation later this year, and the new office space is almost full.
Fredrick said the hospital's new digital entrance signs will be up in a few weeks and should help with navigation.