12/26/09: “Snazzy Sign on Way for Village,” The Free-Lance Star

Snazzy Sign on Way for Village
Eagle Village plans to erect large sign early next year

The University of Mary Washington’s Eagle Village is quickly taking shape, but it’s still missing an important element–a sign.

But we’re not talking about just any sign.

The one scheduled to be erected in February will boast a high-definition screen that’s 21 feet wide and 7 feet tall.

The display will replace the large sign at the former Park & Shop retail center’s entrance off U.S. 1, across from the Fredericksburg campus.

The Eagle Village sign will use the same technology as the massive video board hanging over the Dallas Cowboys’ new field, said UMW Foundation Chief Executive Officer Jeff Rountree.

“It will look like a flat-screen TV in your house” albeit much larger, he said.

Rountree wouldn’t say how much the private, nonprofit foundation paid for the sign, but he described the cost as “considerable.”

“It’s expensive, but then again, it’s an investment because tenants can buy time on the sign,” he said. “It’s sort of a profit center, if you will.”

The screen will market Eagle Village and provide community announcements, including sporting event times, Rountree said.

A smaller sign listing tenants’ names is scheduled to be installed in front of Country Cookin’ restaurant by early January.

Rountree said he originally expected to have the large sign up this year, but it took longer to design than he anticipated.

UMW’s foundation bought Park & Shop in 2007 and is redeveloping it into a multi-use center with student apartments, a parking garage and retail and office space.

The 156 student apartments will offer year-round rentals, which is new for the university. The complex is scheduled to be finished July 10, two weeks earlier than originally expected, Rountree said.

That gives the university about five weeks to furnish the 206,000-square-foot building.

A 540-car parking garage was recently completed in just 38 days, Rountree said.

He said he hopes that retail and office space connected to the garage–totaling 66,000 square feet–will be ready for tenants in May.

Some stores may open in late August, but Rountree said he expects most to be ready for customers in September.

Quiznos and Lee’s Cleaners are the only confirmed occupants.

However, Rountree said he plans to announce lease signings of four restaurants in January. He described one as a “major anchor-type restaurant” and estimated it would rent around 5,000 square feet of space.

Also in January, Rountree said he’s scheduled to meet with a Giant Food senior executive to talk about the grocer’s Eagle Village location.

A few months ago, he sent a letter to the company explaining the importance of the store to the community. A Giant spokesman said in October that the chain was committed to staying in Eagle Village.

It’s unclear when and if the grocer will renovate its current location or move to another site at Eagle Village.

“We’re going to hope to finalize the future of that store,” Rountree said.

Jeff Branscome: (540) 374-5402
Published: December 26, 2009 by The Free Lance-Star

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