Legacy By Grace

Major mixed-use development eyed for site across from Landmark Mall

Hekemian & Co. is in the earliest stages of plotting the mixed-use redevelopment of a large parcel directly across Duke Street from Alexandria’s Landmark Mall, which it quietly acquired earlier this year.

The 8.2-acre site currently includes a Big Lots store, formerly a Best Buy, as well as the Alley Cat restaurant, Dunya Banquet Hall and a four- story office building. New Jersey-based Hekemian bought the site March 31 for about

$21.5 million, according to public records.

There’s not much to be said yet of the development, dubbed Landmark Overlook, as it’s only in the concept review stage. But what it is as of now was presented Tuesday to the Eisenhower West-Landmark Van Dorn Implementation Advisory Group.

The site plan includes 44 two-over-two condo buildings totaling 88 units, two multifamily buildings, two commercial buildings, a park spanning one-third of an acre and a separate community plaza. The commercial buildings, slated to front Duke Street, are identified as hotels, but could also be office depending on economic circumstances and demand.

The project architect is BCT Design Group.

“We think this is the right proposal, having high visibility across Duke Street from Landmark Mall,” said Ken Wire of Wire Gill LLP, Hekemian’s land-use attorney.

The project isn’t expected to get underway until at least 2023. Chris Bell, Hekemian’s senior vice president for acquisition and development, said the developer is “looking forward to seeing what happens with the Landmark Mall.”

“We think it’s a great driver,” Bell told the panel.

But Landmark’s future is among Alexandria’s longest-running undecided sagas. The site, largely owned by Dallas-based Howard Hughes Corp., has been planned, replanned and replanned again — in the meantime serving as a key set piece for the repeatedly delayed “Wonder Woman 1984,” and as a temporary homeless shelter.

Howard Hughes owns the former Macy’s and co-controls the now-shuttered Sears, but the developer is restructuring and, as Alexandria Mayor Justin noted in his April constituent newsletter, “it remains to be seen who will ultimately bring Landmark through redevelopment.” Wilson was “cautiously optimistic” that the project may be coming together, with new approvals sought before the end of the year.

Hekemian has its hands full otherwise in Northern Virginia, as it applied for permits for a multifamily-over-retail project at Nutley Street and Maple Avenue in the town of Vienna, and is separately advancing a new development called Upland Park at the intersection of Seminary Road and Beauregard Street on Alexandria’s West End.