Last month, Mason-Dixon Cafe owner Kelly Hunt opened a new restaurant on Lafayette Boulevard. Eats Burgers, which is in a building at 701 Lafayette Blvd. that used to house Mister Dee’s, is committed to providing Fredericksburg with fast, quality, casual meals. Hunt loved the “funky” building where Mister Dee’s used to be, and was excited to open Eats in such a landmark. Being a lifelong native of Fredericksburg, she has witnessed the evolution of downtown, including Lafayette Boulevard.
Lafayette Boulevard is one of the main entrances to Downtown Fredericksburg. In addition to Eats Burgers, beloved destinations such as Colonial Tavern, The Alpine Chef, and the Fredericksburg Battlefield & Visitor Center are on Lafayette. With the Fredericksburg train station nearby, Amtrak and VRE riders can hop off the trains and walk down either Lafayette or the adjacent Virginia Central Railway (VCR) Trail. Much like Princess Anne Street, Lafayette has seen many improvements in recent years. For many budding businesses, Lafayette is a great location in which to open.
Lafayette has also seen a healthy dose of residential activity of late, building on the Cobblestone Square project a decade ago. Local developer Paul Janney and partners are preparing to build new apartments on Lafayette next to the Colonial Tavern. He is hoping to begin construction on these apartments within the next 12-18 months, and is excited to build on a location that is a “stone-throw” from his office at 612 Lafayette. “It just always seemed like a perfect spot to have a multi-family building,” he said.
Janney has noticed the changes on Lafayette, from the development of Eats to the townhouse construction by Brock’s Riverside Grill. Other recent projects have included the Highlander Park townhouse development across from the Fredericksburg National Cemetery, a redevelopment at 1014 Lafayette Blvd. and the Janney-Marshall project. One significant opportunity for continued growth is the former Roxbury Mills property at 601 Lafayette, which is currently for sale.
“We’re definitely seeing some development in place,” Janney said, noting how Lafayette’s proximity to downtown and the train station provide for significant growth opportunities.
Hunt believes that the revitalization of Lafayette Boulevard can make it a destination, rather than simply a route to get to downtown. “I think it’s got everything it needs at this point,” she said, noting that Lafayette has sidewalks and bike trails that provide for solid accessibility. “There’s always people walking by…I’m surprised at how many.” Hunt is happy that, with Eats, guests can enjoy lunch in addition to just walking across Lafayette Boulevard.
We expect that the growth along Lafayette Boulevard will continue in the years to come. Keep up to date with the progress on blog.fredericksburgva.com.