Unlike the controversy surrounding Wal-Mart’s planned urban expansion, area businesses welcomed the addition of a small-format Target store in the Loop next year.
Most said it would revitalize Sullivan Center at 1 S. State St. The landmark State Street building designed by Louis Sullivan has been empty since Carson Pirie Scott vacated it in 2007, the Chicago Tribune reported.
“Change is good,” said Sam Rosenwasser, president of New York Jewelers at 11 N. Wabash.
The reaction is significantly different from the criticism Wal-Mart has received over plans to open urban locations, which some contend would put independent retailers out of business.
While Target sells jewelry, Rosenwasser said he doubts the giant will impact his business because its merchandise is substantially different and would not attract the same customer. “They’re not a direct competitor,” he said. “It’s still better to have somebody than nobody in a big, vacant building.”
Ty Tabing, executive director of the Chicago Loop Alliance, said the Target could help nearby independent retailers by generating new foot traffic. “This is the big retail anchor we needed” to attract other merchants, Tabing said. The new store is expected to generate 200 jobs.
What’s more, Tabing said, “It will fulfill needs not currently being provided” such as groceries.
A Target spokeswoman said the CityTarget store, as it is being called, will have an “edited” assortment of merchandise due to its reduced selling area. Target is leasing about 125,000 square feet in the Sullivan Center, with about 60,000 square feet devoted to merchandise, including about 6,000 square feet devoted to groceries, spokeswoman Jessica Carlson said.
With residential expansion in the Loop, “More people are living in this area, so they need someplace to shop,” Rosenwasser said.