Solving Cities

Target goes urban with new CityTarget stores

Posting in Cities

Target is opening scaled down new stores in dense, urban centers later this month

Target is following the lead of other traditional big-box retailers and scaling back its stores to appeal to a more urban, downtown market.

Much like Walmart's new stores, Walmart Express, Target is opening a handful of smaller CityTarget stores, with the first stores expected to open later this month in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Seattle, Reuters reports.

One of the main differences between traditional Target stores and CityTargets is the size of the store. The typical Target store is about 135,000 square feet, with Super Targets measuring in at about 175,000 square feet. The average CityTarget will average between 80,000 and 100,000 square feet (though eight times larger than Walmart Express).

But it's not just about stores being smaller and within city limits, most CityTargets will occupy already existing buildings, when possible, "a practice that minimizes the use of new building materials and undeveloped land," Target says.

But renovating older buildings to fit a specific look is expensive, so retailers like Target and Walmart have built the majority of their stores on cheap, suburban land. If done right, however, this move could could be a major boon for Target. It's a brand that would be highly recognizable in a dense, urban setting.

By the end of the year, Target expects to have the urban version of its store in two more Los Angeles locations and San Francisco. A Portland, Ore. location is expected to open in 2013. And Mark Schindele, Target's senior vice president of merchandising, told Reuters."We're in talks with pretty much every major city."

For now the downtown market for traditional big box store is fairly untapped. But with big names looking to the city, will downtowns look more like (walkable) suburban strip malls?

Image: An artist rendering of the CityTarget in Seattle, one block from Pike Place Market. Courtesy of Target.

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Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure