The city of Alexandria has announced plans for a new $1 billion Inova hospital campus on the site of the now-defunct Landmark Mall. The medical campus would be part of a four million-square-foot development including retail and housing that Mayor Justin Wilson says “would be a catalyst for [Alexandria’s] West End.”
Inova says it plans to invest $1 billion into the new medical campus, anchored by the relocation of its Inova Alexandria Hospital that now sits on Seminary Road. But this site would allow for a larger emergency room and offer one of three Level II trauma centers in Northern Virginia, according to a press release. The campus would also include medical office buildings for 50 specialists and will employ more than 2,000 health care workers, the release said.
The future of Landmark site has been an open question for years. The mall itself closed in 2017. The shopping center did come alive again briefly the next year when Wonder Woman 1984 filmed there, even calling in local extras.
Washington Business Journal reported that Inova explored locating at least some services on the Landmark site as early as 2018.
“This plan for the future of the Landmark site is exciting, long-awaited news for our community,” Wilson said, adding that Inova Alexandria “has been an anchor in our city for generations.”
The vision for the rest of the 52-acres is to create a “mixed-use, walkable urban village,” with retail and entertainment, a central plaza, parks, and a new transit hub that includes bus rapid transit, Metrobus, and DASH buses. Officials also hope that affordable workforce housing and a new fire station will be part of the project.
Stephanie Landrum, head of the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership, says the city has long been searching for an anchor tenant to spur on the broader redevelopment of the Landmark site.
“Over the last five years in particular,” she says, “[we] had looked at office headquarters, had looked at what I would call major retail anchors … And at the same time, we had been talking with the hospital about their growth plans and needs.”
The goal, Landrum says, was to find an anchor that would bring people to the area every day.
“Our strategy in general for economic development,” Landrum says of her organization, “has been to focus our efforts on these anchor projects, recognizing that by bringing anchors into the city, and throughout the different corners of Alexandria, we will then create spin-off economic activity, jobs, other sorts of investment.”
The city announced the preliminary deal alongside Inova, the developer Foulger-Pratt, the mall’s owner, the Howard Hughes Corp., and Seritage Growth Properties, which owns the old Sears building at the Landmark site.
Plans for the project still need to go before the Alexandria Planning Commission and City Council which could happen in summer 2021.
Alexandria plans to use $54 million in bonds to purchase the land for the hospital and lease it to Inova. The city would also use $76 million in bonds for “site preparation and infrastructure” at the Landmark site and along the adjacent Duke and Van Dorn Street corridors.
The city hopes the investment will generate $778 million in tax revenue over the bonds’ 30-year life. Construction could begin as early as 2023.