The City of Fredericksburg and the University of Mary Washington Foundation received a statewide 2013 Community Economic Development Award at the Virginia Economic Development Association’s spring conference on Friday, March 29, in Charlottesville.
The award recognized the Hyatt Place-Fredericksburg hotel at Eagle Village for the creative financing enabled by the city’s Tourism Zone program, the new Virginia Tourism Development financing program and the entrepreneurial strength of its developer, the UMW Foundation. The Fredericksburg Department of Economic Development and Tourism nominated the project for the award.
“We are pleased that the UMW Foundation and the city were able to use city and state programs to make this valuable project possible,” said Karen Hedelt, director of Economic Development and Tourism. “VEDA’s recognition of the efforts is very much appreciated.”
The hotel is the second phase of Eagle Village, the city’s first mixed-use development adjacent to UMW’s Fredericksburg campus. The five-story, 93-room hotel, currently under construction, is scheduled to open later this year. It adjoins the first phase of the Eagle Village project, completed by the UMW Foundation in 2010, which houses premium student apartments, prime retail and office space, and a secured parking deck.
Jeff Rountree, CEO of the UMW Foundation, is pleased with the recognition.
“When Gov. McDonnell created the Tourism Development Financing Program in 2011, we knew right away we wanted to work with our partners at the city and be the first developer in the commonwealth to adopt and utilize this creative financing structure,” Rountree said. “Thanks to this program, the UMW Foundation’s Hyatt hotel will create new jobs in the region, generate new revenue for Fredericksburg, provide a needed hospitality service and revitalize an under-utilized commercial site within the city.”
Fredericksburg’s City Council approved a $310,000 Tourism Zone performance grant for the hotel in 2011. The city and foundation worked with the Virginia Tourism Corporation to secure a $310,000 state matching grant for the hotel through the Virginia Tourism Development Financing Program, the first one approved by VTC since the program’s creation. The city and state grants, funded by sales tax revenues generated by the hotel, allowed the foundation to close the final gap in financing the $15 million project.
Currently, the hotel generates 100 construction jobs; upon opening, it will support 55 new jobs. Hotel guests will have a short walk across the U.S. 1 pedestrian bridge to the campus and the newly-opened 52,000-square-foot Anderson Center, which hosts athletic events, concerts, commencement ceremonies, convocations and year-round special events.
“The UMW Foundation Board is proud to be associated with such an innovative and rewarding project which will greatly enhance the City of Fredericksburg and Eagle Village,” said Kathleen Mehfoud, chair of the UMW Foundation Board.
The VEDA annual awards program was instituted in 2007 to recognize outstanding communities in the commonwealth for their efforts in advancing the economic viability of their communities.