Alexandria, Virginia’s city council authorized reconstruction plans to convert its Landmark Mall site into a new medical facility, walkable urban village and multi-family home neighborhood, according to the city’s press release.
The unanimous decision permits $2 billion to be invested into the project where a state-of-the-art Inova Alexandria hospital serves as the leading attraction. The medical campus will be one of four Level II trauma centers in Northern Virginia providing 24-hour specialty services for brain injuries, complex fractures, and other trauma care.
Parks, senior centers, affordable housing, a fire station and a new hub for bus transportation will occupy the rest of space, according to WUSA9. The renovation will result in up to four million square feet of new development. Construction is estimated to begin by 2023, with the first structures opening by 2025.
Repurposing vacant spaces into usable facilities isn’t new but, the closing down of retail stores in malls due to the COVID-19 pandemic offers new opportunities for architects and building managers. Fortune Magazine estimated that about 12,200 stores closed in 2020. A third of these businesses were department stores. Affordability is a theme when it comes to turning an unused facility into a usable one. 65 percent of the repurposing projects of the past few years were intended for middle and lower-income renters, according to RentCafé.
Adaptive reuse made Matthews Real Estate Investment Services’ top ten trends in real estate list. Urban centers that were forced to close due to the pandemic offer prime locations often being located near public transit and bus lines. This gives customers easy access to healthcare services. These centers also offer large amounts of space that can be repurposed into medical
organizations, assisted living facilities, industrial facilities among other businesses. Adaptive reuse can breathe new life into cities and neighborhoods.
Landmark Mall closed in 2017 after primary tenants Lord & Taylor, Macy’s and Sears closed due to customers moving online. Since then it has been used as a place to house the homeless and a COVID-19 testing site.