Landmark plan takes a step forward


A major element in the revitalization plan for the Landmark area is an operation called de-malling, which is a process to get rid of the indoor shopping atmosphere, add an office and residential element, and reduce the need for cars in the area.

A company called General Growth specializes in de-malling, and the 52-acre Landmark Mall is one of 200 malls across the country that General Growth is working on.

While the de-malling is occurring at Landmark Mall, Van Dorn Plaza will be transformed into a walkable environment, the Metro station will be better used and the traffic will be rerouted to lessen gridlock. These were all elements of a loosely defined plan unveiled by Faroll Hamer, the citys director of Planning and Zoning at a meeting of the West End Business Association on Oct. 25.

The result has to be a better quality of life for the community, said Hamer.

Hamer addressed the audience, made up of WEBA members, civic association leaders and residents, without a slide show or any artist renderings of what the plan might look like because city planners are in the early stages of the project. Hamer said the end product must be a three-way negotiation among planners, developers and the community.

A core planning group will be formed in the coming months, and Mayor William Euille will meet with General Growth on Nov. 7 to get the ball rolling. I would rather have the plan bubble up from the community, Hamer said.

Everyone is eying nearby Shirlington Center as an example of what they want the plan to look like. We will start out doing some kind of field trip to other town centers, said Hamer.

Janice Magnuson, a member of the Brookeville-Seminary Valley Civic Association, has lived in the area since 1984. She wants a plan with no high-rise buildings, nice stores with a good coffee shop, and no connector road from Claremont Avenue to Duke Street that she heard about in previous plans. I know Van Dorn and Duke Street cannot deal with anymore traffic, she said.

Kathleen Burns, another member of the civic association, handed out a list of principles created by members of the Landmark Mall/Van Dorn Task Force that reflected what the project should and should not have.

We need something that creates revenue, Burns said, looking around at the Landmark Mall that is not the retail establishment it once was. This mall isnt generating what it used to, she said.

There were concerns that the Landmark revitalization plan will get overshadowed by other plans going on, like the Braddock Road Metro plan and the West Eisenhower plan. Hamer noted that the time frames for the plans may overlap but will continue to move toward completion.