12/07/07: “Presenting Eagle Village,” The Free Lance-Star

Presenting Eagle Village
On December 7, after seven months of intense negotiations, the UMW Real Estate Foundation proudly announced the purchase of the 21-acre retail center known as Park and Shop adjacent to UMW’s Fredericksburg campus. The Foundation is excited about the acquisition of this land and the many opportunities this purchase presents for UMW faculty, staff, and students.

Simply put, we envision a mixed-use “village” of student and faculty housing, enhanced retail and office space, and entertainment venues.  It will be an extension of the campus, complete with brick walkways, fountains, gardens, and Jeffersonian architecture.  For your safety, we plan to extend campus walk over Route 1 with a pedestrian and bicycle bridge.

Our first priority is to construct a new residential village that can accommodate around 400 students. These buildings will provide premium apartment-style living for upperclass students designed as two-bedroom and four-bedroom suites with private living rooms, full kitchens, and secured on-site parking.  The addition of new residences will allow the University to systematically close and renovate the existing residence halls without eliminating campus housing opportunities.  The result will be improved living spaces for all residential students. In addition, these new residence halls will replace the two buildings currently slated to be built on campus, thereby freeing those spaces to be used in the future for new academic buildings and preserving more of UMW’s green space.

The workforce at UMW also should benefit from the housing opportunities.  Currently, the inflated cost of living in the Fredericksburg region makes it difficult for our faculty and staff members to live close to their jobs. Hence, we plan to seriously explore ways to incorporate workforce housing into the village with the hope that our employees will someday have an affordable place to live near the University.  This option should help UMW recruit and retain the best and brightest faculty and staff.

We also anticipate that the future addition of new retail and recreational facilities such as a movie theater, high-end bookstore, café-style restaurants, an outdoor performance stage, and even a state-of-the-art performing arts center will enhance the student life experience at UMW.

Additionally, to continue UMW’s efforts to be environmentally friendly, we will approach this development from a “green” perspective. We plan to become the region’s first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED-certified mixed-use development.

The complex will be owned, developed, and managed by the University of Mary Washington Real Estate Foundation, a private non-profit organization.  The mission of the UMW Real Estate Foundation is to acquire, develop, and manage real estate holdings for the benefit of the University.  As such, no student fees or state funds were used to acquire the property.  We worked with our banking partners and utilized the substantial asset base of the UMW Real Estate Foundation to finance this acquisition.

So, how long will it take?  The first phase of the project, which will be the premium student housing, is likely to take about three years.  The retail village and other components will be staged in phases shortly thereafter.  This estimate provides a preliminary timeline and is likely to change.

Remember, everything presented so far is conceptual.  Now is the time for you to give us your ideas…what services, shops, and restaurants would you like to see?  What ideas do you have for the village?  We will not move forward on any plans without your feedback, so visit our web site to learn more about the project and to let us know your proposals.

Thank you for your input and we look forward to updating you as this exiting project comes to life!


Kathleen Shepherd Mehfoud ’70
President, UMW Real Estate Foundation

Jeff W. Rountree ’91
Executive Director of the UMW Real Estate Foundation & Vice President for University Advancement

About the Eagle Village Project

Everything proposed is conceptual at this stage. The University of Mary Washington intends to work closely with community neighborhood associations, City officials, UMW students and staff, adjacent landowners such as Medicorp, and the retail tenants to develop plans for the site. Click here to provide feedback to the UMW Real Estate Foundation.

Proposed Vision for the Property

  • A residential and retail park-like village for townspeople, students, and faculty to shop, live, work, and enjoy recreational facilities.
  • Upgraded core retail services (grocery store, dry cleaners, post office, etc.), with tenants enjoying better facilities and increased foot traffic.
  • The addition of premium, upper-class residential space for UMW students, to include nearly 400 beds, 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. Enrollment will not be increased as a result of the new space.  Parking will be part of the project.
  • Workforce units are intended to provide housing for UMW faculty and staff, as well as the individuals who perform the city’s most essential services – teachers, police officers, fire fighters, nurses, medical technicians, and others.
  • Development of high-end condominiums for sale to the public will be considered, as well as assigned private parking (secured, covered, and separate from the retail spaces) for all residential units.
  • Loft-style office space housed over ground-floor retail shops could be used by the University or, more likely, leased to local businesses.
  • Although academic buildings are not envisioned for this site, a small “learning center” with classroom space and a small lecture hall could be used by the University and shared with Medicorp and the community for continuing education and training needs.
  • Other proposed additions include a movie theater, a small outdoor performance stage within the shopping area, a state-of-the-art performing arts center for community use, outdoor café dining, and high-end retail.
  • UMW’s Jeffersonian brick and column architecture will be the inspiration for all new construction.
  • An attractive brick pedestrian bridge spanning Route 1 is proposed to safely connect UMW and the College Heights neighborhood to the site, serving as a gateway to the city and tying the UMW parking deck to the site.
  • The construction will be completed in phases over the next three to 10 years. The Foundation plans to create the region’s first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified “green” mixed-use development.

Benefits to the City of Fredericksburg

  • Although a tax-exempt organization, the UMW Real Estate Foundation will pay real estate tax to the city on most of the development.
  • An old shopping center, with a high vacancy rate, will be transformed into a vibrant new community-centered village with expanded retail and cultural offerings, as well as upgraded storefronts and walkways, and more green space.
  • Additional sales tax revenue for the City from increased retail outlets and sales.
  • Workforce housing will allow the city to attract and retain the most highly qualified individuals for essential service-sector jobs.
  • New student housing will reduce the need for many of the student rental houses in the city, as well as the parking issues that often accompany those units.
  • The renewal of this area could play an important part in the City’s Comprehensive Plan and in the JumpStart Plan.

Benefits to the University

  • The ability to expand without encroaching on the University’s remaining green space will preserve the open feel and beauty of the Fredericksburg campus. The additional residence halls will eliminate the need for the two residence halls planned for construction on the Fredericksburg campus, thereby preserving these construction sites for future academic buildings.
  • The ability to attract both local and national franchises that appeal to students and employees will elevate and enhance their experience at UMW.
  • UMW will be able to offer workforce housing for professors and staff who would not otherwise be able to live in the city, providing an incentive for recruiting and retaining highly sought-after employees.
  • Upperclass students will have the option to live in premium student housing, and the additional housing will allow older residence halls to be renovated without disrupting the lives of the students who choose to live on campus. The additional housing will not impact the overall enrollment at Mary Washington, but will alleviate overcrowding in the residence halls and allow improvements to the older buildings to make living on campus more attractive to our students.

About the UMW Real Estate Foundation

  • The UMW Real Estate Foundation is a private 501c3 organization with a mission to acquire, manage, and develop real estate for the University.
  • The Real Estate Foundation has a large portfolio of holdings. Its current $25 million in real estate assets includes the UMW Apartments on William St., residential housing, office space, and hundreds of acres of undeveloped land in the region.
  • While the price will remain undisclosed, the Real Estate Foundation did not use student fees or state funds for the acquisition of the Park and Shop property.
  • Kathy Shepherd Mehfoud, UMW Class of 1970, is the president of the Real Estate Foundation. Jeff W. Rountree, UMW Class of 1991 and Vice President for University Advancement, is the executive director, and Richard V. Hurley, Acting President of UMW, is the treasurer.

Link to original
Published: July 7, 2007

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