The University of Mary Washington Real Estate Foundation announced today that it has purchased the “Park and Shop” retail center near the intersection of College Avenue and Route 1.
The foundation plans to create a mixed-use “village,” enhancing the current retail space and developing residential, office and entertainment spaces within a recreational park-like area for students, employees and members of the community. The 21-acre parcel of land is approximately one-third the size of the current Fredericksburg campus and is the only large developable tract of land adjacent to the campus.
“We are excited to make this announcement,” said UMW Real Estate Foundation President Kathy Shepherd Mehfoud, a former rector of the Board of Visitors andmember of the class of 1970. “We envision this property as a signature gateway into the city and UMW. Even though all of the plans are purely conceptual at this stage, this acquisition has much promise for the University of Mary Washington and the greater Fredericksburg community.”
The complex will be owned, developed and managed by the University of Mary Washington Real Estate Foundation, a private 501c3 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. Jeff W. Rountree, vice president for university advancement and executive director of the UMW Foundations, will serve as president of the newly formed entity developing the site. Even though it is a tax-exempt organization, the UMW Real Estate Foundation will continue to pay real estate taxes to the city on all commercial portions of the development.
Plans call for new construction to match the Jeffersonian brick-and-column architecture of the UMW campus. Retail space will remain a major focus with facilities being upgraded for tenants. In addition to the core services already provided, such as a grocery store, dry cleaners and post office, the foundation hopes to attract high-end retailers, including a bookstore, bank, movie theater, specialty shops and café-style restaurants.
The foundation plans to construct astudent housing villagethat willaccommodate nearly 400 beds to relieve overcrowding on campus, allow the university to renovate current residence halls and alleviate the demand forstudent rental properties, and the associated parking problems, within the neighborhoods that adjoin the campus. No major increase in enrollment will result from the additional residential units, and secured parking for the student housing complex will be developed. Workforce housing for UMW faculty and staff, as well as local teachers, police officers, fire fighters, nurses and other essential service-sector employees, is envisioned and high-end condominiums also will be considered. Each type of residential space is slated to have its own assigned private parking.
There also are plans for office space over the ground-floor retail shops for local businesses to lease. For community gathering and recreation, a pedestrian walk with benches, fountains and gardens will connect all of the shops together and may even includea small outdoor performance stage. Long-range plans envision a performing arts center. In addition, a small learning center with classroom space and a small lecture hall could be built for shared use by the university and Medicorp as an educational and training facility. Finally, an attractive brick pedestrian bridge spanning Route 1 is proposed to safely connect UMW and the College Heights neighborhood to the site and serve as a gateway to the city.
The foundation intends for all new construction, which will be completed in phases over the next threeto 10 years, to result in the region’s first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified, “green” and sustainable mixed-use development.
“Redevelopment of this magnitude will energize the Route 1 corridor and will greatly enhance our city and the lives of our citizens. We welcome the investment UMW’s project delivers,” said Fredericksburg Mayor Tom Tomzak.
“The university’s proposed plans are designed to improve the quality of life of members of the UMW community and the residents of Fredericksburg,” said UMW Acting President Richard V. Hurley, who also is the treasurer of the UMW Real Estate Foundation. “As such, we plan to work closely with community neighborhood associations, city officials, retail tenants, adjacent landowners such as Medicorp, and UMW students and employees as we make decisions on how to revitalize this area.”
The university has partnered with Concord Eastridge on this project. Concord Eastridge is a national leader in public/private and mixed-use development in association with universities and colleges, public entities, not-for-profit organizations and other institutions.
Park and Shop was built in 1963 and was owned by JBG Rosenfeld Retail of Chevy Chase, Md. The current center has approximately 31 tenant spaces totaling 235,564 sq. ft., of which seven spaces, or 56,000 sq. ft., are currently vacant.
More information about the project, as well as a way to provide feedback or ideas for the development of the land, can be found online at www.umw.edu/village.