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The time for farewells is almost up, as the demolition of Landmark Mall starts early next month.

It will take about a week for contractors to relocate the Landmark Mall Transit Center to the northeastern portion of the massive property, followed by site fencing the final week in April and demolition at the beginning of the month — although no exact date has been released on exactly what day walls will start coming down.

“I would hope to see the site fencing go in and around the site by the end of this month, with demo(lition) starting the very beginning of next month,” Jay Kelly, Foulger-Pratt’s vice president of development, said in a community meeting Wednesday night. “We are pushing every day to try and make it go quicker.”

The massive West End Alexandria project will result in more than four million square feet of new development, including the expansion of Inova Alexandria Hospital. The buildings on the property will be demolished over the course of six months — going from east-to-west, including the flyover ramp on N. Van Dorn Street. Only the 550-space parking garage will remain as-is.

Most of the debris will be hauled away along Interstate 395 on trucks with tarps that have been hosed down to reduce air contamination.

The mall opened to the public in 1965, closed in 2017 and briefly returned to its former glory as a filming location for Wonder Woman 1984.

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Inova Alexandria at Landmark will open in about six years, although the plans and timeline are still subject to change. The proposed 675,000 square-foot hospital is 175 feet tall — about 16 stories in height, and will likely forever alter the Alexandria skyline.

Inova unveiled its conceptual designs for three new large buildings at the 10-acre complex site in a community meeting via Zoom on Wednesday night (March 30). The project, which makes up a fifth of the total land use on the 52-acre West End Alexandria development, accounts for 915,000 square feet of usable building space — 675,000 square feet devoted to the new hospital, 130,000 square feet to a cancer center and 110,000 square feet to a specialty outpatient care center.

“We anticipate putting a shovel in the ground in 2024, completing the hospital in 2028, with the hospital moving in from Seminary Road in the first quarter of 2028,” said Cathy Puskar, an attorney for Inova. “The schedule is preliminary and subject to change, because we just never know what happens in the processing of these permits and applications. So, we give ourselves a little bit of room there.”

That means Foulger-Pratt will have to go to the city for final site plan approval and building permits over the next two years, and construction would occur between 2024 and 2028, Puskar said.

While only nine-stories, the proposed wall height of the  464,000-square-foot new hospital facility is 175 feet — taking into account a tall roof screen to hide hospital mechanical equipment.

“The hospital would be one of only three Level II trauma centers in Northern Virginia, seven statewide, and 270 nationwide, providing 24-hour specialty services for brain injuries, complex fractures, and other trauma care,” Inova said. “The addition of a (Specialty Care Center) would allow an estimated 50 specialty physicians to see patients on the same campus as the new hospital.”

The remaining 200,000+ square feet allowed for hospital space has been reserved for a future expansion at the southern portion of the property.

“That is just an area that allows the hospital future expansion in years to come,” Puskar said, adding that expansion at Inova Alexandria Hospital was impossible due to its limited footprint. “There were needs for expansion to the (old) hospital, but that particular site and zoning really didn’t lend itself to expansion.”

There are also five access points for cars into the hospital off Duke Street, and Puskar said to expect up to 24 inbound and outbound helicopter landings at the hospital every year.

Only one vestige of the former mall will remain — the old 550-space parking garage. It will be joined by a 600-space above-ground parking lot, and a staff-only 300-space underground parking lot (accessible to all three buildings).

The project is designed by Ballinger and Ennead Architects.

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The Alexandria Courthouse (Staff photo by James Cullum)

A Washington D.C. man was placed under an emergency substantial risk order on March 16 after allegedly threatening to shoot up the Alexandria Courthouse (520 King Street).

Police found the man outside of the courthouse in his red Jeep Cherokee, after his ex-girlfriend called police and said that he was having a mental health crisis, according to a search warrant affidavit. The woman told police that her ex was triggered after being threatened by a woman with a knife the previous day.

In a text message, the man told his ex that he was “outside the courthouse with my guns,” and when she asked his intentions, he responded with, “murder suicide,” according to the search warrant. She also told police that he suffers from depression and other mental health illnesses, and has never sought treatment.

The woman then sent police screenshots of texts from the man, including one that read, “I guess but at least my name will be on the news or sumn.”

Police spoke to the man on the phone, who told them he had disassembled rifles in bags in his trunk. He was not charged with a crime, and was taken into custody and transported to Inova Alexandria Hospital.

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A DASH bus pulls into Landmark Mall (staff photo by James Cullum)

The Landmark Mall Transit Center will be closed for about a week starting tomorrow (Tuesday) for construction as the facility serving DASH and Metrobus is relocated ahead of the mall’s demolition this spring.

DASH sent out a notice that the transit center would close Tuesday, March 29, for about one week, meaning DASH Line 30, 32 and 35 buses will not stop at Landmark Mall. It wasn’t yet known whether the transit center will reopen at the relocated spot in front of the former Macy’s, or if that relocation would happen at a later date.

Landmark Mall will be demolished ahead of Inova’s construction of a new hospital campus. Inova recently filed concept plans with the city, showing the campus will include a new Level 2 trauma hospital, a cancer center and a specialty care center.

The temporary transfer chart for DASH and Metrobus customers as the Landmark Mall Transit Center ic closed for construction (via DASH)
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Along the waterfront near Jones Point (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

The week was filled with trees blooming across the city during the peak for cherry blossoms.

Aside from picturesque scenes throughout Alexandria, there were some local stories that interested you all — from new pizza places to court updates in crime cases. And at the City Council’s meeting, Dominion Energy said it will invest millions of dollars in Alexandria to prevent future outages like the one at Art on the Avenue last year.

For anyone looking for something to do this evening or who wants to find a way to help Ukraine, locals organized a fundraiser to help refugees. The event is tonight (Friday) from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on the rooftop of 277 South Washington Street.

And, here are the top stories from the week:

  1. Three men indicted after bystander shot in neck at West End 7-Eleven parking lot
  2. Two juveniles arrested after shots fired in Arlandria
  3. Alexandria man indicted on first-degree murder charge in BJ’s killing
  4. Inova campus concept plans at former Landmark site filed with city
  5. Frank Pepe’s Pizzeria Napoletana coming to Alexandria Commons Shopping Center
  6. Alexandria officials push back against ACPS ‘cover up’ story
  7. Suspect breaks into Lyles-Crouch Traditional Academy through roof
  8. Alexandria police officer arrested, charged with domestic assault and battery
  9. West End murder suspect’s case to go before grand jury next month
  10. Alexandria hotel tailors stay to dogs as industry leans into pet-friendly accommodations

Have a great weekend Alexandria!

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One of the first looks at the proposal for the Inova hospital campus at the old Landmark site was filed with the city last week (screenshot via City of Alexandria permit system)

Inova has filed concept plans for the 10-acre site that will relocate the Alexandria hospital to the former Landmark Mall property and is expected to start construction in 2024.

Phase I of the campus construction proposal includes a 565,525-square-foot level 2 trauma hospital with below-grade and structured parking, a 107,239-square-foot cancer center and a 88,085-square-foot specialty care building, according to the development concept plan filed with the city last week. The existing parking garage will remain, adding 550 parking spaces for the campus to the additional 950 spaces to be constructed.

The construction timeline would start with the hospital in 2024, and the cancer center and specialty care center in 2026. Construction and opening for the campus is targeted for 2028.

The development concept plan states 1.66 acres of open space is required and is incorporated into the plan’s document.

Phase 2 includes the potential for hospital expansion, Inova spokesperson Tracy Connell said.

Inova Health System will host a virtual community meeting on Wednesday (March 30) at 6 p.m. about the development proposal for the new hospital campus. Representatives from Inova and their design consultants will present an overview of the proposed development and answer questions, according to Inova’s website.

When the city initially announced the relocation of the hospital from the Seminary Hill location, it said that it would expand to over 2,000 health care workers.

“The hospital would be one of only three Level II trauma centers in Northern Virginia, seven statewide, and 270 nationwide, providing 24-hour specialty services for brain injuries, complex fractures, and other trauma care,” the hospital system’s website states. “The addition of a medical office building would allow an estimated 50 specialty physicians to see patients on the same campus as the new hospital.”

The proposal lists the companies involved in the project as Urban, LTD, as the civil engineer, Gorove Slade as the traffic engineer, Ballinger as the architect, Walsh Colucci Lubeley & Walsh as the attorney and Davis Utility Consulting, LLC, as the utility engineer.

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Inova Health System announced today that it plans to put $1 million in grant funding into non-profits addressing health needs in Alexandria and its neighbors.

The hospital system announced today that applications are open for the 2022 Health Equity Grant program, into which Inova is putting a record $1 million in funding. The grant program helps nonprofit organizations that provide services for under-resourced locals and promote equity.

“In 2021, Inova awarded $240,000 to 14 nonprofit organizations in Northern Virginia through the (then named) Community Health Fund,” Inova said in a release. “With the healthcare inequities experienced by many in our community exacerbated by the global pandemic, Inova nearly quadrupled its grant funds to $1 million and refocused the program to specifically address health equity locally.”

In prior years, organizations such as The Campagna Center in Alexandria and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington received grant funding. Special consideration will be given to eligible nonprofits that are owned and operated by Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC), the hospital system said. Applications are available online and due April 6.

“Meeting the healthcare needs of the Northern Virginia community is a priority for Inova, and our community partners are instrumental in helping us identify effective ways to support under-resourced groups,” said Dr. J. Stephen Jones, President and CEO of Inova Health System. “Improving the health of our community is about more than direct healthcare, and we are proud to offer these grants to the wonderful organizations who provide the resources our residents need to thrive.”

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(Updated 2/7) Busy week at the intersection of state and local politics.

Yesterday, Gov. Glenn Youngkin visited an Alexandria Safeway for a roundtable discussion only to get heckled for not wearing a mask indoors. There’s even a shirt referencing the incident being produced as a fundraiser. Meanwhile, members of Youngkin’s administration made better headway in meeting with state and federal leaders to discuss increased infrastructure funding for a local bridge project.

Meanwhile, Alexandria has its own local problems. The city is issuing $187,673 in refunds after it found a red camera light on Duke Street was not adhering to state requirements. The city is also facing some financial problems from hotel tax revenue drying up. Alexandria City Public Schools are also grappling with a recruiting shortage and is working to boost relationships with historically black colleges and universities in an effort to bring in new teachers.

Top stories

  1. Woman apprehended after allegedly slamming 19-month-old boy to ground at Inova Alexandria Hospital
  2. A bunch of new restaurants are coming to Alexandria this year
  3. Man arrested after allegedly pushing girlfriend in Alexandria apartment
  4. Gov. Youngkin visiting Alexandria Safeway today to discuss reducing cost of living
  5. Juvenile assaulted twice on DASH Bus, videos of incidents uploaded to Instagram
  6. No arrest after armed robbery at West End CVS store
  7. North Old Town power plant plans get a taste of Dutch design
  8. Police arrest two men allegedly attempting to flee from police in Landmark
  9. Collapse of hotel tax revenue could put more pressure on Alexandria residents
  10. Nando’s Peri-Peri is closing in Old Town and moving to Hoffman Town Center
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A Fairfax County woman experiencing a mental health crisis was apprehended after allegedly slamming a 19-month-old boy to the ground in the emergency room at Inova Alexandria Hospital last month.

The incident occurred at around 4:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 20. Police said that the woman was acting erratically by knocking items off of counters, according to a search warrant. The woman then allegedly walked into a room, picked up the child by his legs and flung him on the floor.

“According to the mother of the child, the suspect picked up the child by his legs and shoved him down the hallway,” police said in a search warrant. “The child sustained an apparent injury to his forehead an left hand.”

The woman was not arrested, and her relationship with the mother and child is not known.

“On December 20, 2021 we responded to a call for service for a woman having a mental health crisis,” Alexandria Police spokesman Marcel Bassett told ALXnow.  No arrest were made, but other services were provided to address this incident.”

In November — a month before this incident — the woman was charged with two counts of possessing a Schedule I or II substance. She was also charged with pickpocketing in March, and then for failing to appear in court.

Alexandri provides behavioral health treatment resources. Find out more about them here.

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In a City Council meeting last night, Inova Alexandria Hospital and local health officials shared a look at the current COVID-19 situation in the hospital and what the state of emergency declaration means for the city.

Inova Alexandria Hospital President Dr. Rina Bansal told the City Council that the hospital is prepared for any potential surge.

“The good news is, if there is good news, is that we’ve been dealing with this for 22 months so we’re well versed with handling another surge of Covid,” Bansal said. “While we are extremely busy, we’re well within our capacity from a bed perspective as well as a resource perspective. We are actively planning for any surges that we may see in the next few weeks, as noted in the predicted models.”

Bansal said the emergency declaration from Gov. Ralph Northam gave the hospital more flexibility to tackle any upswing in hospitalizations:

That’s why the emergency that was recently issued by the governor is key. It’s key from an in-patient perspective because it allows us to increase our licensed bed capacity beyond our current license, work in staffing ratios that may not be what we do right now, and it allows vaccinations to be given by any healthcare provider which increases our ability to provide vaccinations in this community and telehealth services, which allows increased access to our patients within Virginia and in Maryland if they were previously our patients. It allows us to use providers licensed in other states to provide are.

Bansal acknowledged that staffing has been a challenge at the hospital.

The hospital has reverted to earlier visitation restrictions and Bansal said the majority of patients being hospitalized are unvaccinated ones.

“The sicker patients are the unvaccinated patients,” Bansal said, “and if you look at it proportionally the unvaccinated patients are the ones getting admitted to the hospital.”

Inova Alexandria Hospital spokeswoman Melissa Riddy also noted that the hospital is critically short on blood, and will be holding blood drives on January 25 and 27.

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