Friday, March 25, 2011

City Target

Limited by their size and sprawling warehouses usually disguised with little more than a painted, cinder block facade, discount department stores have avoided densely populated urban areas. When we do see one, it's usually found in a mid-century, urban mall designed to compete with the relocated retail that fled the city years ago.

But for the most part, the Wal-Marts and Targets are found closest to the cities in former industrial areas where large tracts of land have been cleared. Selling everything from kibble to lawnmowers, servicing cars and licensing hunting rifles, these discount retailers are rarely engineered vertically.

They still might not be. But a new trend is bringing these retailers to the American downtown. And with a short break in the global Recession and urbanites still wondering if that Arts Condo will ever be worth more than $100 grand, it isn't a moment too soon.

Starting in downtown Los Angeles, Target is experimenting with a new brand: City Target. The second stop in City Target's urban trail is Center City Philadelphia. Not exactly small when it comes to the East Coast grid, these stores will be limited to 100,000 feet and serve primarily as grocers. That's pretty big, and if Target wants to best service Center City, I can't think of a better location than The Disney Hole at 9th and Market.

Connected to SEPTA's regional rails, subway, and Patco's high speed line, 9th and Market is not only convenient to Jefferson University students, Chinatown, Washington Square, numerous hotels, Old City, tourists, and conventioneers, all without a major grocery store, it might provide the competition K-Mart at The Gallery needs to start stocking its shelves and cleaning up its display windows. There really is no better location.


  1. What makes Target great is the inexpensive, fun clothing and housewares.
    While your there if you remember your short on some grocery item its a plus but that not what will make an urban location successful.

  2. I know. I'm hoping they learn that lesson when they launch the one in LA. DC has a two-story Target in Columbia Heights that is full service and in a dense area. It isn't a "City Target" but it's certainly doable on Market East. They're a smart company. I'm sure market research will tell them that 8th and Market can certainly support the need for housewares and clothing, particularly being across the street from K-Mart, Ross, Burlington Coat Factory, and Old Navy.

  3. Actually, they're talking about having the Target at the new Pavilion at Market East that's about to be built at 11th & Market. According to the Business Journal, the developers are talking about breaking ground on that four storey project by the end of the year, and eventually building a hotel on top. Eighth & Market is still owned by Goldenberg, who say that they still want a large entertainment/retail center there. I'll have more to say about this on my blog philadelphiaheights soon. Oh, and thanks for putting the link to my blog on your blogroll. :)

  4. Shut up! That is awesome! I had no idea that the 11th and Market idea had gotten so much momentum. I'll have to check out the Business Journal.

    Wherever Target ends up, developing either The Disney Hole or Girard Block will hopefully be the catalyst that finally puts some fire under the ass of the other.

    Philly Heights has fast become one of my favorites. Brownstoner needed a worthy replacement as inclusive as they managed to be.

  5. Target has a vertical store in Abington. Check it out for the cool shopping-cart escalator.

  6. LOL, what kills me about the shopping-cart escalator is the fact that they have a sign informing people not to use it for strollers...which means some idiot probably tried using it for a stroller.