By ANNIE KINNIBURGH
The construction of Eagle Village, a $115-million complex to feature new apartments, a high-security parking facility, retail stores and office space, and a pedestrian bridge spanning U.S. Route 1, will begin this March, with an estimated completion date of summer 2010.
The construction will take place on seven acres of the 21-acre Park ‘n’ Shop property across Route 1 from the UMW campus, primarily in the area currently occupied by Roses. UMW purchased the Park ‘n’ Shop last December.
As the first phase of a total redevelopment of the property, the construction will include a 620-bed apartment complex and a parking center with 540 parking spots and room for 200 bicycles.
According to the office of university relations and communication, each apartment will house a maximum of four students and have two full bathrooms, a full kitchen, and a living room.
University relations described the goals for the project in a press release last week: “The addition of these residences will relieve overcrowding on campus, allow the university to renovate its current residence halls, and reduce demand for student rental units and parking in local residential neighborhoods.”
UMW Foundation CEO Jeff Rountree also said that the center will include 30,000 square feet of retail space to be leased to old tenants of the Park ‘n’ Shop or new tenants who wish to move into the space.
Negotiations are underway with Einstein Bagels, as well as several restaurants who have expressed interest in the new retail space, but Rountree said no decisions have been made.
“We expect to see several new vendors move in within the next few months,” Rountree said.
In a press conference, members of the UMW Foundation, which is overseeing the project, said that the facilities would be pedestrian-friendly and available to students, faculty members and townspeople.
According to UMW Foundation Board Chairman Red Hofer, the goal is to create a sustainable “green” urban setting.
“We will upgrade core retail services, such as a grocery store, dry cleaners, and post office, and add new high-end retail and restaurants to the area—all nestled within a park-like setting,” Hofer said.
According to Rountree, the center will also attempt to replicate the aesthetics of the UMW campus, emphasizing red brick and Jeffersonian architecture.
UMW President Judy Hample emphasized that Eagle Village will be a means to connect the college and the community, and will have many benefits for the city of Fredericksburg, including real estate taxes to be paid to the city.
“I am proud to be working with the city to explore innovative ways to improve our community together,” she said.
In addition, no student fees or state funds will be used in construction of Eagle Village, Hofer said. Funding will come from the UMW Foundation, formerly known as the UMW Real Estate
Foundation, a private, non-profit foundation responsible for management of UMW assets. The Foundation is working with Bank of America, which will provide loans for the construction.
There will also be an emphasis on safety, with a 24-hour concierge in the apartment complex and increased security in the parking deck, said Rountree.
“The 221,000 square foot structured [parking] deck will be fully secured with monitored cameras, gated entry and exist, and card-swipe access for users,” he said.
An enclosed 214-foot bridge across Route 1 will also help students travel safely from campus to Eagle Village.
The entire development will take an estimated three to 10 years to complete, according to Hofer. The school hasn’t yet announced details of the second phase of the project.