By Bryce Meyers – CoStar News
The Alexandria City Council has greenlighted long-anticipated plans to remake the site of the shuttered Landmark Mall in Alexandria, Virginia, into a 4 million-square-foot, mixed-use development that officials are hailing as a potential catalyst for the revitalization of the city’s West End.
On Tuesday, the council unanimously approved plans by the city and development partner Foulger-Pratt to redevelop the 52-acre tract along Interstate 395 into a walkable, urban village that if fully built out would represent a $2 billion investment for the area. Plans call for medical office buildings, for-rent and for-sale multifamily units, retail and commercial space, and entertainment offerings.
At the heart of the proposal is a new $1 billion hospital and medical campus for Inova that would be part of the Inova Health System that serves much of Northern Virginia. The new hospital would replace nearby Alexandria Hospital and employ roughly 2,000 health care workers.
“This long-anticipated project will not only revitalize a currently vacant site many had given up on and provide significant new economic activity, but will also be a catalyst for redevelopment and enhancements throughout the West End of our City,” Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson said in a statement.
The $2 billion proposal also calls for affordable housing, outdoor parks, a new fire station and a transit hub that would anchor the city’s proposed bus rapid transit network, DASH, and Metrobus.
Construction at the site could begin as soon as 2023, with the first buildings potentially opening in 2025.
Inova had been in discussions for more than a year to revamp its health care services in the area before agreeing to establish a new hospital on the Landmark Mall site. Designed to be one of only four Level II trauma centers in Northern Virginia, the proposed hospital would allow for a larger emergency room and private patient rooms, as well as feature the Inova Schar Cancer Institute at Alexandria Hospital that will offer full cancer services, including radiation and infusion.
To help make the existing hospital site more attractive to investors, the council on Tuesday also approved a master plan amendment and rezoning of the current Inova Alexandria Hospital site on Seminary Road to permit a variety of residential uses, a move that will help facilitate the sale of the property in advance of Inova’s relocation to the Landmark site.
Additionally, the council approved the use of $54 million in public bond financing to allow the city to acquire the land for the hospital and lease it to Inova, as well as $86 million in public bond financing for site preparation and infrastructure at the Landmark site and adjacent Duke Street and Van Dorn Street corridors. These investments are expected to generate over $1 billion in city tax revenue over the 30-year life of the bonds, which will cover the principal and interest on the bonds as well as contribute to public safety, schools, human services, transportation, environmental protection and other expenditures in the city’s general fund, officials said.
The approvals come roughly seven months after the city announced it had reached an initial agreement with Foulger-Pratt, mall owner The Howard Hughes Corporation and Seritage Growth Properties to redevelop the Landmark Mall, an indoor-outdoor shopping center that opened in 1965 and has been in talks to be redeveloped for nearly a decade.