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6 Malls In The D.C. Suburbs Looking To Replace Vacant Department Stores

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Department store retailers across the country have been struggling to stay afloat in recent years, and the malls in the D.C. suburbs have not been immune from the wave of closures. Several mall anchors, from Sears to Macy's to Nordstrom, have closed around the D.C. area, and mall owners are searching for ways to revive the vacant properties.

Some are bringing in new tenants to the former department store spaces, while others are launching major mixed-use redevelopments of the properties. Bisnow found six D.C.-area malls looking to bounce back from department store closures. 

Bowie Town Center

The Sears at Bowie Town Center
The Sears at Bowie Town Center

The Sears at Bowie Town Center was one of 142 locations the struggling retailer said in October it would close by year-end. The store has now closed, and the mall's owner is signaling plans for a redevelopment of the property. 

Seritage Growth Properties has proposed replacing the Sears with a mixed-use development, but has not yet unveiled detailed plans, Capital Gazette reported Wednesday. The landlord will discuss plans for the property with the community at a Jan. 23 Bowie City Council meeting. 

Bowie Town Center sits just off Route 50, about 7 miles outside the Beltway. The outdoor shopping mall still has anchors, including Macy's, Best Buy and Safeway, and a host of additional soft goods retailers and restaurants. 

Tysons Galleria

Tysons Galleria
A rendering of the planned renovation of the Macy's at the Tysons Galleria mall

The Macy's at Tysons Galleria remains open, but the company has said the store would close soon, and the mall's new owner is moving forward with renovation plans. 

Brookfield Properties took ownership of the mall last summer with its acquisition of General Growth Properties, which bought the Macy's property from the retailer in 2016. Bisnow first reported in September that luxury theater chain iPic was looking at the Tysons Galleria Macy's space for its second D.C.-area location.

The landlord submitted plans with Fairfax County last week to renovate the Macy's building, and architectural drawings include a movie theater with at least eight screens and an elevator labeled "iPic passenger elevator," appearing to confirm the theater chain's deal to open at the property.

Brookfield is also in talks with Apple, Tiffany & Co. and gourmet grocer Balducci's to open in parts of the Macy's space, the Washington Business Journal reports. Brookfield did not respond to a request for comment. 

Dulles Town Center

Nordstrom Dulles Town Center
The shuttered Nordstrom at Dulles Town Center

The Nordstrom at Dulles Town Center closed in 2017. The store had been open for 15 years, but the retailer was looking to trim its portfolio and saw an ability to serve the area from its Tysons store. 

Lerner, which owns the remainder of the mall, bought the property from Nordstrom in November for $5M. The deal included the 144K SF store and 13.5 acres of surrounding property, including parking lots. 

The developer has not unveiled its plans for the vacant Nordstrom building and surrounding lots, but it is moving forward with nearby residential projects. Lerner last year completed a 435-unit apartment building near Dulles Town Center and in 2017 broke ground on a project with 66 townhouses near the mall. The mall still retains anchors Sears, Macy's, Lord & Taylor, JCPenney and a Regal Cinemas.  

Landmark Mall

Macy's Alexandria Landmark Mall
The shuttered Macy's at Alexandria's Landmark Mall

Macy's announced plans to close its store at Alexandria's Landmark Mall in January 2017. Later that month, mall owner Howard Hughes Corp. reached a deal to buy the Macy's building from the retailer and announced its plans to close the remainder of the mall and move forward with a mixed-use development. 

The Macy's space has been used as a temporary homeless shelter since closing, and the mall last year hosted the filming of a scene for "Wonder Woman 2." 

Redevelopment plans had stalled because Seritage, the owner of the the mall's Sears, had held out on closing the store. But Howard Hughes in November told the community it had reached an agreement with Seritage and taken control of the full 51-acre property.  

Howard Hughes has not unveiled detailed plans for the mixed-use development of the site, but it is expected to submit an application in April that calls for as much as 5M SF of development. The developer's previous plan, before taking control of the Macy's and Sears, called for an open-air town center in between the department stores with a 400-unit residential building and a 10-screen movie theater, but the new plan will likely be much larger.

Westfield Montgomery

Westfield Montgomery Mall Woonerf
A rendering of the woonerf and new retail planned to replace Sears at the Westfield Montgomery mall

Sears in November made official its long-anticipated closing of the store at Westfield Montgomery. Mall owner Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield in December filed plans, first introduced to the community in June, to replace the Sears and its surrounding parking lot with a major mixed-use development.

The developer's plans for the 28-acre site consist of four phases spread over several years. The first phase would demolish the two-story Sears building and replace it with 213K SF of ground-floor retail and restaurant space, plus a five-story 369-unit multifamily building.  

The second, third and fourth phases of the project call for a 150K SF fitness center, a 516-space parking garage, a seven-story, 240-unit multifamily building and a 12-story mixed-use building with 261 hotel rooms in the lower portion and 108 residential units on the upper floors. 

Fair Oaks Mall

Fair Oaks Mall
The entrance to the Fair Oaks Mall in Fairfax

In August, Sears announced plans to close its two-story, 234K SF store at the Fair Oaks Mall in Fairfax

The closure announcement came one year after the store's owner, Seritage, introduced plans to consolidate the Sears on the first floor and open new concepts on the second floor. The plans for the upper floor called for a Dave & Buster's and a Seasons 52 restaurant. 

The plans for the second floor appear to still be in the works, but Seritage has not said what it would do with the 122K SF lower level. The mall, sitting just off U.S. Route 66, still has Macy's, Lord & Taylor and JCPenney as anchors.