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UMW no longer buying property
UMW property acquisitions likely to slow down

 UMW's recent projects include building a pedestrian bridge to link Eagle Village with the main Fredericksburg campus.
DELAYNA EARLEY FOR THE FREE LANCE-STAR
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Date published: 8/5/2010

BY BILL FREEHLING

The University of Mary Washington is likely done acquiring property in the city for the foreseeable future, UMW President Rick Hurley told a group of local business leaders Tuesday night.

Hurley and Jeff Rountree, CEO of the UMW Foundation, were the speakers at Tuesday's session of the Rappahannock Area Business Leadership Forum. The Hirschler Fleischer law firm sponsors the forum events, which are held at the downtown Courtyard by Marriott hotel.

Hurley gave an overview of UMW's upcoming plans that included a discussion of the university's property acquisitions. He said UMW no longer plans to buy houses along College Avenue as it once did. He and Rountree said they made an exception for the Pizza Hut near campus because of its strategic location.

UMW and its private foundation already have plenty of development work on their hands without buying additional property, Rountree and Hurley made clear.

The foundation and its leasing team are trying to find tenants for the mixed-used Eagle Village project across U.S. 1 from campus. Hundreds of students will be moving in there later this month.

Several restaurants have signed leases, and Rountree said the new development may eventually have around 10 eateries. A pizza business has expressed interest, and a couple of companies are looking at office space. The foundation is starting to study the possibility of a hotel there and a road that connects Eagle Village with Mary Washington Hospital. He plans to meet with an executive from Giant later this month to discuss the grocer's long-term plans.

The student housing at Eagle Landing allows the university to start closing its outdated campus dorms for renovations, Hurley said. Students are now being required to live on campus for at least two years.

Hurley, who officially took over as UMW president July 1, said he is determined to make the university a premier public liberal-arts institution and restore the "little bit of luster" that was lost over the past few years following the abrupt departures of the university's previous two presidents, Judy Hample and William Frawley. UMW was recently named to the Princeton Review's latest edition of "The Best 373 Colleges."

Among the plans UMW is also working on, Hurley said, are graduate campuses near the Dahlgren and Quantico military bases and a performing arts center in Fredericksburg. The institution also has plenty of land on which to expand its Stafford County campus.

Bill Freehling: 540/374-5405
Email: bfreehling@freelancestar.com