ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- Those in charge of redeveloping a nearly-empty mall in Northern Virginia announced plans for the space on Monday night -- plans that include at least one unexpected detail.
Patch reports that the Landmark Mall's almost million-square-foot structure will be mostly demolished -- Sears and Macy's will remain as standalone stores -- replaced with mixed-use development incorporating a high-end movie theater.
John Simon, executive vice president of strategic planning for the company redeveloping the space, was unusually honest when describing what this theater will offer:
The front of the mall would feature restaurants on the ground level, set off by a plaza, and an upscale cinema on the upper level.
“This is not a multiplex, typical theater,” Simon said. “You may have been exposed to theaters that you sit down, you can have a meal while you’re watching the movie. They serve you bad wine, you know, and you’re drinking wine at a movie, so it’s good. We’re talking to a few operators that are doing that. All of them have interest here.”
The developers said it was too early to know what would happen to the school, T.C. Williams, that now has a satellite campus at the mall.
Landmark Mall has a 1.5-star-rating on Yelp -- here's a typical review:
This place just steals all my joy. It's beyond sad. I miss the mall that used to be now it's just a sad empty shell of what once was that will never be again. The "stores" (term used lightly) are fly-by-night no name stores. If someone handed me $500 to spend in 5 minutes there I'm not sure it could be done, maybe just at Macy's but I miss the Lord and Taylor, well I miss all the stores that were here. It just makes me sad.
After hearing from co-workers on just how destitute this place was as a mall, I decided to check it out. I thought, "Surely, people are exaggerating". Holy molly, people were not kidding when they said this place was dead. It really says something when the only place you can find some form of life in a giant mall is by a "Chick-Fil-A". The rest of the store is empty and I saw plenty of empty retail spaces. It's kind of sad really, as I think this place has potential to be a great shopping mall. It just needs the right stores. It has plenty of space for them.
The only reason I would stop by here would be for Chick-Fil-A, or if I really want to shop in an empty Macy's.
There's more cautious enthusiasm toward the carnival being held through April 14 in the mall parking lot:
There is a carnival at Landmark Mall twitter.com/OConnellPostbi…
— Jonathan O'Connell (@OConnellPostbiz) April 8, 2013
I know it's ratchet but the landmark mall Ferris wheel looks so cool at night from the beltway
— Josh Stein (@clayjays) April 9, 2013
i went to da lil ghetto carnival by landmark mall i had lots of fun ill tell ya
— Desean (@BestYouNevrHad) April 3, 2013
More unbridled enthusiasm is directed toward the redevelopment plans:
“I found it very interesting,” a local resident told Patch. “I was pleased that there’s going to be more restaurants, and the theater project, I think, is an excellent idea.