Macy's at Landmark Mall could become homeless shelter

Macy's at Landmark Mall could become homeless shelter.  (ABC7)

Macy's at Landmark Mall in Alexandria was once a bustling department store. Now, the empty building could soon be used as a homeless shelter.

This would only be for two years, helping a local homeless shelter in need of a temporary home.

Nowadays, the mall is a ghost town, with only Sears still open. The mall parking lots are mostly empty, except for vehicles stored here by car dealers.

Meanwhile, as first reported by the Washington Business Journal, Carpenter's Shelter in north Old Town needs a temporary home while its current facility is renovated.

So as The Howard Hughes Corporation finalizes plans to transform Landmark Mall into a mixed use development, it might temporarily lease out the old Macy's.

In an emailed statement, Senior Vice President of Development at The Howard Hughes Corporation Mark Bulmash said, “Carpenter's Shelter is a long-established and highly regarded organization that does significant work in the community. While nothing can be confirmed at this time, we are working on details in hopes of moving this project forward. We at The Howard Hughes Corporation always welcome the opportunity to play a role in helping our communities.”

Carpenter’s Shelter board vice chair and former Alexandria Mayor Kerry Donley said, “The timelines seem to match up in terms of their redevelopment plans and our need for a temporary site for our current shelter.”

Donley acknowledged the old department store would need some retrofitting, with new rooms, showers, laundry and dining facilities.

“It's largely a blank slate so it works out well for us,” he said.

He also pointed out nearby public transportation options, with service by DASH Bus and Metrobus. And the Van Dorn Metrorail station is only about a mile away.

“And there are a number of other city services out here on the west end that can support our [shelter] population,” Donley said.

Donley said he hopes to wrap up lease negotiations with The Howard Hughes Corporation in the next couple of weeks. If the lease is finalized, he said construction inside Macy’s could take two to three months with the temporary shelter opening in early 2018.

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