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Downtrodden Virginia Mall To Get New Lease On Life

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The Landmark Mall isn't what it once was, but Alexandria officils hope to revive it.
The Landmark Mall isn't what it once was, but Alexandria officils hope to revive it.

Daniel Daughtry recently moved to Alexandria and is visiting Landmark Mall for the first time.

"It's pretty dead. Pretty lame in here. Hehe. I'm just coming in here to find somewhere to get my watch fixed if that can happen. Yeah. But it's pretty dead in here to be a mall with all these closed up stores. Strange," he says.

"Usually the only people who come here are foreigners. Nobody else comes here. So that's why you see a lot of mom and pop stores. The only companies you see are U.S. companies are cell phones, Sears, Victoria's Secret and Macy's," says Arjay Armani, who works at MyPhoneFix, a kiosk inside the mall.

Sears and Macy's are here to stay, but the rest of the tenants in this mall are in doubt. Earlier this month, the Alexandria City Council approved a plan to transform the 11-acre site into an open-air, mixed-use community with retail, residential and entertainment space. That's good news for city leaders, who have wanted to revive the ailing mall for years. But it's also created a sense of uncertainty here.

"Yes, we want to see development. Yes. We want to see the city of Alexandria do much better and look much better. But then, you know, it's a challenge to us," says Laurie Noufal, who has managed a hair salon here for more than twenty years.

Noufal was here when the mall converted from a strip mall to an enclosed structure. In those days, the parking lot was full and the storefronts were all occupied. Now the place is a ghost town. And although customers are few and far between, Noufal still has loyal customers who live in the area.

"They say they are going to take it down by June. So we have to be out by next June. So we don't have much time," she says.

That means Noufal and the other small businesses here have about a year to find a new place to set up shop.


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