Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Memory Day: Landmark Mall

Last Thursday, the demolition of Landmark Mall in Alexandria finally began.

As the nearest mall to my childhood home (1.1 miles by car), I have many memories of what this mall was like, even if I didn't spend much time there. My earliest memories of the mall was in the 80s when it was an outdoor mall with long promenades. The benches down the middle of each path were bordered with pyramid-like slopes (very chic in concrete architecture) which my sister and I would run up and down the slopes as our parents roamed from department store to drug store.

When the mall became enclosed, visits became a triangle of stops: Kenny's shoes for discount footware, Sears for Boy Scout merit badge books, and the Electronic Boutique up on the third floor for PC and Nintendo games. We never ate at the Food Court because "We have food at home". This same argument applied to the arcade as well: "Why are you going to pay 25 cents for a two minute game when we have a computer at home?"

If I recall correctly, whatever we were looking for at the mall was often out of stock, so we'd pile back into the car and hit the next closest mall, Springfield Mall. As this started happening more and more, we eventually stopped going to Landmark much at all.

Landmark finally closed in 2017, after which it became a truckyard for millions of Amazon Prime delivery trucks. It took another 5 years to cut through red tape for the redevelopment. Hopefully the mixed-use development is successful (they're all the rage these days), although it doesn't seem like they took my advice about putting a data center underneath it and some open-air craft breweries on the top level.

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