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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Alexandria Planning Commission to consider Landmark Mall project next week

The central part of Landmark Mall would be demolished.

The City of Alexandria Planning Commission has scheduled a hearing for June 4 on a rezoning and special use permit application to clear the way for a mixed-use redevelopment project at Landmark Mall. The City Council will consider the proposal June 15.

The Dallas-based developer, the Howard Hughes Corp., wants to replace the interior of the mall with a “walkable neighborhood” with 370 to 400 multifamily units and 317,000 square feet of retail between the Macy’s and Sears stores. Those stores would remain as free-standing structures.

The proposed plan.
The 11.2-acre property is currently zoned “regional commercial” (RC). Howard Hughes is requesting it be rezoned as “commercial residential mixed use medium (CRMU-M)

There would be four stories of apartment units positioned over ground-level retail. Intended retail uses include restaurants, shops, and an “upscale dining cinema,” states a report by Alexandria planning and zoning staff. The apartments would include “roof-top amenity space for the residents and their guests.”

The proposal calls for the creation of an urban street grid, with arcades, plazas, and “passive green space” and improved access from Duke Street. There would be wide sidewalks to accommodate outdoor dining. Hughes has agreed to contribute $2 million to the City of Alexandria for affordable housing, $200,000 for public art, $500,000 for a transit center, $500,000 for pedestrian and bicycle paths, and $1 million for off-site transit and pedestrian improvements.

When Landmark Mall opened Aug. 4, 1965, it was the first mall in the Washington, D.C., area with three anchor department stores. They were Hecht Co., Sears and Roebuck, and Woodward & Lothrop. Hecht’s is now Macy’s, and Woodies later became J.C. Penney, then Lord & Taylor, and is now vacant. Sears is still open. Landmark Mall was originally built as an open-air shopping center and was enclosed in 1990.


  1. DL Thurston5/29/13, 3:45 PM

    This is the second area mall that has made the decision to demolish the mall bits, leaving just the anchor stores behind. Which I think is a great move in both cases. It will be interesting to see what pressure there is on the anchor stores to improve their appearances, especially since Sears and Macy's both appear as grey slabs on the redevelopment plan.

    Unfortunately I don't see anything in the plan about fixing Landmark's biggest problem: access. The mall area is difficult to get into and out of, whether arriving from surface streets, or especially from 395.

  2. What's old is new; what's new is old.

  3. Wow, combined with Mark Center BRAC traffic, the additional 800 cars from 400 residences plus the retail seems like a bit of a concern -- anyone?

    These types of high density projects ought to be situated near metro stations.

  4. If you have been to Landmark recently, you would see it has become a very sad place. Only a few stores are still open. The property does need to be redeveloped. The key issue is whether it will be done right and whether the traffic mess can be fixed. The plan calls for a lot less retail than there is now.

  5. Sad to say, I have been over that way and traffic is a nightmare -- and as you correctly mentioned that is with only a few stores still open in that mall!

    I hope for some wisdom...