Landmark Mall’s Sequel
Once temples of teendom, shopping malls across the country are dying, and developers are trying to figure out what to do with them. At Landmark Mall in Alexandria’s West End, the only store still open is Sears. The rest of the space is being used in two polar-opposite ways—as a homeless shelter and as a set for the Hollywood blockbuster Wonder Woman 1984.
While part of the mall was restored to its 1980s glory so that Gal Gadot and Chris Pine could film scenes there this summer, the former Macy’s is now Carpenter’s Shelter, reopened in June with beds for 60 residents. It’s slated to operate for about two years, but ultimately the Howard Hughes Corporation plans to develop the 51-acre mall into an “urban village” of residences and entertainment.
Home is Where the Protest Is
Like other Trumpies (Sean Spicer, Paul Manafort, Reince Priebus), Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen calls Alexandria home. Her choice of residence has become newsworthy: Protesters showed up outside her townhouse one morning in June blasting the sounds of detained children crying and carrying signs that read child snatcher. She was spotted sneaking out a back door.
There’s only one public high school in Northern Virginia whose football team is the subject of a Disney movie. It’s also the only public high school in Northern Virginia whose football stadium has no lights. The reason the T.C. Williams Titans have to play their home games on Saturdays rather than Friday nights goes back to 1965, when Alexandria bulldozed an African-American neighborhood called Mudtown to make way for the school. As an olive branch to those residents—many of whom were moved to a nearby development—the city promised to keep the stadium dark and quiet at night.
Fifty-three years later, Alexandria is reconsidering—and the residents have filed a suit. But with most city pols supporting the lights, the Titans may finally get their Friday-night home games.
Big Dig on the river
The Old Town waterfront is in the early stages of a 20-to-30-year overhaul intended to transform the land along the Potomac into a community of condos, dining, and recreation. Later phases include updated piers and a boardwalk. But for now, the city is working on the first step: building King Street Park at the Waterfront, scheduled to open by the end of the year.
You might recall that a few years ago, during construction of Hotel Indigo three blocks away, archaeologists unearthed the partial hull of an 18th-century cargo ship. As digging gets under way for the new park, archaeologists will again be on hand to assess other artifacts that turn up.
Beware the Giant Hogweed
Giant hogweed, a plant with serrated leaves and clusters of white flowers, produces sap that can cause burns and blindness—and it was recently discovered sprouting between two buildings in Alexandria. Crews quickly removed it.
Not Making an Entrance
The over-budget Metro station being built at Potomac Yard has caused a lot of angst. Alexandrians learned this spring that the city agreed to eliminate the station’s southern entrance—the one closest to a developing neighborhood that’s key to Alexandria’s hopes of attracting Amazon’s second headquarters. Also infuriating: Some citizens and businesses who had already paid a special tax for the station found out that—without that entrance—they’d be closer to the Braddock Road station after all.