The University of Mary Washington Foundation commemorated the beginning of construction on the five-story Hyatt Place hotel at a groundbreaking ceremony in the Eagle Village mixed-use development on Friday, September 21. The foundation also celebrated the recent completion of Eagle Village Drive, a pedestrian and vehicular connection between the development and Mary Washington Hospital.
“Eagle Village, from day one, has always represented the very essence of urban renewal and economic revitalization and how a university and a community can come together to initiate positive change in a neighborhood,” Jeff Rountree, CEO of the UMW Foundation, told a group of more than 100 gathered for the event. “The addition of this connector drive and a first-class hotel are just the latest pieces in this rather large and complex development puzzle.”
Pamela J. White, rector for the UMW Board of Visitors, told guests that the new hotel and the Eagle Village complex provide a dramatic example of the university’s expanding regional partnerships and commitment to regional economic engagement.
“The foundation’s leadership on these projects yields significant benefits for both the university and the greater Fredericksburg community,” said White. “The hotel will provide a prime venue for meetings for the university, Mary Washington Healthcare, area businesses and local community events.”
Work in preparation for the hotel began in mid-July with the demolition of vacant buildings between Giant Food and Eagle Village Drive. Located in the second phase of the Eagle Village complex, the hotel will include 93 studio rooms or suites, several meeting and conference rooms for public rent and 24-hour food and beverage service for guests. The 66,500-square-foot facility also will include an indoor pool and a fitness center. In addition, the building will house approximately 1,400 square feet of retail space. The hotel is expected to open in fall 2013.
In her remarks, Fredericksburg Mayor Mary Katherine Greenlaw commended the UMW Foundation for its continued efforts to promote economic growth and positive real estate development in the community. She congratulated the Hyatt Place hotel project for being the first in Virginia to qualify for the Virginia Tourism Development financing.
“The hotel will create somewhere in the neighborhood of 55 new jobs for this area and will add significant new tax revenue to the city,” said Greenlaw. “It will contribute significantly to the resources available to our staff in the Tourism and Economic Development offices as they seek to promote the city of Fredericksburg as a first-class tourist and meeting destination.”
The ceremony is among several festivities at the university this week. At 4 p.m., UMW will hold a rededication ceremony for the renovated Randolph and Mason residence halls. Yesterday, the university celebrated the start of construction on the Information and Technology Convergence Center located next to Simpson Library. The center is expected to open in fall of 2014.