City Target Aims to Open in City’s Central West End at Cortex

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nextSTL has learned Target Corporation recently signed a letter of intent to develop a CityTarget in the Cortex technology and innovation district. The store is one of the discount retailer’s urban concepts. These outlets are typically smaller than traditional Target stores, ranging in size from 80,000 to 160,000 square feet. There are currently eight CityTarget stores nationwide.

Founded in 2002, Cortex is a hub for tech and bioscience research, development, and commercialization. The 200-acre district spans the Central West End and Forest Park Southeast neighborhoods. Construction on the Cortex store is not expected to break ground until 2016.

Target has stated Boston is the only city slated for CityTarget development in 2015. Earlier this month the company announced it will open 15 stores in 2015. The Boston CityTarget, eight TargetExpress locations, and six general merchandise stores. Operating 1,790 outlets, Minneapolis-based Target is the second biggest discount retailer in the United States behind only Walmart.

The St. Louis CityTarget will be located at the northwest corner of Forest Park and Vandeventer avenues in midtown. This is directly across the street from the new 380,000 square foot Ikea currently under construction. The 164-unit 465-bed Standard, a five-story luxury student apartment development, at the northeast corner of the intersection is expected to open this fall.

City of St. Louis - IKEA{Ikea site plan – City Target site at upper right}

CityTarget sells a selection of its most popular merchandise with the urban consumer in mind. Nothing is sold in bulk. Shoppers looking for large furniture pieces will have to walk across Forest Park to Ikea. Store offerings also include smaller pack sizes and scaled down homewares.

The company’s strategic growth plan is focused on reaching shoppers in urban centers with new formats like CityTarget and TargetExpress. Averaging approximately 20,000 square feet, TargetExpress is the company’s newest and smallest configuration.

The TargetExpress format is comparable to CVS and Walgreens. It gives on-the-go shoppers access to a pharmacy and convenience store. However, TargetExpress general merchandise additionally include traditional Target components like groceries, bedding, and electronics.

It’s not clear whether the planned store will utilize structured parking, but it seems likely. The 1.63-acre site (71,000 square feet) is adjacent to the Gerhart Building which is undergoing a full renovation into apartments and retail space. To the north is the repair facility for St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department vehicles, and to the west, several buildings owned by the Salvation Army.

gerhart{the Gerhart Block is undergoing an $8M renovation}

The Forest Park and Vandeventer intersection has been closely watched by Cortex followers ever since nextSTL first broke news of the Ikea development in March of 2013. At the southwest corner the Ikea is being built on land that was once part of an expansive Laclede Gas maintenance facility.

At the northwest corner the three-story American Bakery Company brick building complex constructed in 1901. It was demolished by Cortex in 2011 to prepare the CityTarget site for future development. In 1920 one hundred and sixty-five employees toiled at the bakery. Production capacity was 6,000 one-pound loaves of bread hourly.

A Mobil gas station and car wash was razed at the northeast corner to make room for The Standard apartments, as first reported here in February of last year. The project is part of a housing boom in, and surrounding, Cortex. More than 2,000 residential units are planned or being developed near Forest Park and east to Saint Louis University roughly along Forest Park Avenue.

The southeast corner of the intersection has been expected to be developed as a retail hub since the idea was first posted by nextSTL in July 2013. Dubbed Midtown Station, rumors continue about possible tenants, but sources tell this site development is still in the early stages. That high profile corner is dotted with multiple property owners, and planning for environmental remediation of the former Federal Mogul is said to have not yet begun.

Reached for comment, Target spokeswoman Kristen Emmons told nextSTL, “St. Louis is a great community for Target and we continue to explore opportunities to serve guests there. However, I do not have any information to share regarding a new store at this time.”

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  • DF

    IKEA opens in a week. I’d love an update on this article!

    • Alex Ihnen

      Us too. I’ve decided to leave it up, with the Cortex denial, as we do not have any new information I feel confident posting with any certainty. As you can see, the rumors continue to fly – Midtown Station, Walmart, etc. etc. Basically there are a lot of different retail outlets exploring the area. There’s serious interest, and as you can see, we believe an LOI, which may or may not remain active. As soon as we know more we’ll share. Thanks for reading.

  • Jim G

    Just to the west of this lot, on the northwest corner of vandeventer and forest park, sits the giant salvation army. Getting this parcel away from the salvation army could be the reason for the denial of the new store. I’m not sure there is enough room for even an express target at this location on the grass alone. So getting the salvation army out of the way could be in the interest of Cortex, thus freeing up the entire block for big box retail. Which makes sense for all parties denial, if target is indeed interested, but wants more room to set up shop.
    This Ikea will drawl people from all over the metro area, the ripple effects of development will be great, on top of current booming development in the area. I’m not sure a over sized salvation army that takes up way too much real estate will survive in this immediate area anyway.

    • Adam

      “So getting the salvation army out of the way could be in the interest of Cortex, thus freeing up the entire block for big box retail.”

      Let’s hope not. Target Express isn’t big-box in form, and we don’t need more big-box retail along this stretch. I’m not a huge fan of Salvation Army but that is an attractive MCM building and I don’t want to see it demo’d for big boxes/big parking lots.

      • John R

        I agree it looks like a TargetExpress could go in here pretty nicely as part of a mixed-use building like in their first Minneapolis example of that product. Or maybe across the street at the Silo Lofts project… hopefully we’ll hear progress on that soon.

        But an 80,000+ sq.ft. CityTarget does seem more problematic on the north side of FPP.

    • I work at slu and hear rumors

      Target is stalling because they are back at the drawing board. Pace properties will soon announce major tenants in midtown station. One of the major tenants will be Walmart. Target now has to go big or go home. They need the Salvation Army package for sure. They want the entire block across from Ikea.

      • Adam

        F*ck ALL of that if it’s true. Jesus f*cking Christ.

        • STLEnginerd

          Can of worms was opened with IKEA. Those developers who think in terms of big box will only have to point across th street to IKEA to make a case for more. Hope strong leadership is there to contain the suburbanization to as small an area as possible.

          • Alex Ihnen

            IF it were a Walmart, Target, etc. with zero TIF or public money…IF…it could be important financially to the city. Too much retail spending by city residents goes to Brentwood/Richmond Heights and elsewhere.

          • STLEnginerd

            No doubt. But the question is how much urban form do you allow to be bulldozed for the sake of sales tax. Thats why I referenced leadership. IKEA was the first step in allowing bigbox development in the core city. MANY who decry WalMarts were bending over backwards to justify IKEA. The sales tax money seemed too irresistable. To think that future developers would be primarily interested in urban form mixed use buildings when IKEA is driving so much vehicular traffic is a little naive.
            The city leadership needs to do two things. First figure out how far they are willing to allow it to spread, and sencond hold the line. Otherwise there will be QTs and McDonalds as far as the eye can see.
            Form base code takes care of the first step. Now, step two.

          • John R

            Form-based code I believe already is in place west of Vandeventer from McPherson to FPP (which includes the possible CityTarget site, falling under Boulevard Type 2) and I believe a code is being worked on for south of FPP to the Grove. Not sure what if any planning is being done for east of Vandeventer,

        • Dan B

          Settle down! Just rumors for now.

          • Adam

            I know, but I don’t think it’s much of a rumor that the Pace development is going to be big boxes. It’s pretty clear from the site plans that have been released. Also, let me clarify that I’m not opposed to a Walmart, per se, as long as it’s one of their urban concepts. But if all we get out of IKEA is a battle of the big boxes, we lose.

      • John R

        It’ll certainly be interesting to see what’s announced for Midtown Station… like Target, if Wal-Mart does come, what will the product be? A traditional suburban store would take up a good chunk of the site so hopefully we’d see one of their more urban products. Could we see a grocer at Midtown Station and at the Green Street development at Vandeventer and Chouteau? Anyway, I’m more concerned about site design than what particular retailers come as long as its fairer wage. I’d love to see mixed-use but I’m not hopeful.

        • Mike

          Im sure everyone wants to see more mix use projects. But, how many more fiber cement towers can midtown absorb? Already 2500 new residential units under construction or slated for this summer. I’m afraid the we will see big boxes standing alone for now.

          • Adam

            It’s not as if the only two alternatives are cement towers or big boxes. In terms of the Salvation Army building, for example, a third alternative is to leave the buildings and repurpose it. Or just let Salvation Army stay there.

          • John R

            ^ I’m not hopeful for anything other than big box in Midtown Station as I said, but I do think the demand is there if Pace delivered a quality product. The Standard across the street, which is student-oriented, is leasing up very well. And it isn’t every site that has an old rail trestle for use as a bike/ped greenway. Also, mixed-use doesn’t have to mean residential (although that would be nice), something like one of the Highlands office buildings but with more ground floor retail would be cool.

  • John R

    Target announced it will lay off thousands (and downtown Minneapolis is expecting to take a hit). I haven’t heard how the restructuring will impact store roll-outs though… I don’t particularly care precisely where a Target product is located, but I do hope one the Midtown or Downtown area before long.

    • John R

      The Minneapolis Biz Journal is reporting that Target is planning to close more stores and open fewer stores than normal in 2015 but that most of the 15 ones that will open will be their smallest product, TargetExpress. The only CityTarget that will open this year will be in Boston. Actually, I wouldn’t mind a smaller CItyExpress opening downtown in 2016 over a larger TargetExpress in Midtown, but that probably is just me.

  • Gingrich

    You fells should get the facts straight before posting an article such as this. I had a call with Dennis from Cortex today on a separate issue, but along this article he firmly denied the Target. There is no reason to rush a story that has no merit to be the first breaking it. This really makes me wonder about what gets published here.

    • Josiah

      They seem to have some source involved at Cortex that’s spilling the beans. It’s not like this is the first development they reported in the cortex district that ended up being correct. IKEA firmly denied their story when it went out. That or Cortex is leaking incorrect information to find the leak which would make this story that much more entertaining

    • Don

      This really makes me wonder about what gets published here.

      This comments really make me wonder about your agenda.

      If this story turns out to be false, it will be the first. That’s a record nearly any Internet site would envy. This site’s reporting on the greater Cortex developments has been excellent. And we’re not left to wonder about any of it, as it has all come to pass as even the casual observer can read through the site and observe the actual construction taking place.

      Which gets us back to your agenda.

      Where you sent here by Dennis or someone else at Cortex to troll? Did someone at Cortex tell you the leak was a setup? Just a douche?

      The story could be wrong. I’m willing to let it play out. No harm was done, and the reporting here has earned the benefit of doubt from fair-minded folks.

    • Tim E

      How I see it, Nextstl is a blog about development that will have egg on there face and will lack credibility in time If they are wrong enough times and or continue using bad sources. Nor do I see an issue as Alex clearly states below Cortex response for me to read. The only person that seems to be in a tizzy about it is yourself MFG.
      In the meantime, ask Dennis if he can give an update on the Silo Lofts RFP’s that were due and or if he as anything new to on when the new Boyle metrolink station construction will start and or if their is an update on Wexfords plan for the US Metal site? Lot of people would like to know the positives and or have a constructive argument on how the city and region should go forward. Nextstl is one such forum where as most of the local news sources are ready to go negative on anything related to St. Louis.

    • matimal

      Such as it’s reporting of the IKEA deal long before IKEA acknowledged it?

  • greenmelinda

    Can we stop calling strip malls ‘stations?’

  • Don

    There have been rumors that Target was a target as an anchor tenant for the redeveloped abandoned Federated Brake plant site just a block east on Forest Park. Hmmmmmm.

  • Alex Ihnen

    Cortex has just posted this message on its Facebook page:

    “We are excited and thrilled about developments happening within the Cortex Innovation Community, including the booming growth inside of @4240, CIC-St. Louis, the new building currently being planned to house Tech Shop, and Cortex Commons, our new park that will open later this spring. Today, however, NextSTL released a story regarding Target that was untrue. The retailer and our team are not in discussions about placing a Target location in the District and have no plans to do so at this time. We have contacted NextSTL to inform them the story is without merit and to encourage a retraction.”

    A representative of Cortex did reach me by phone to say there’s no truth to the story. We post quite a few stories on nextSTL that aren’t met with official confirmation. To-date, I can’t think of one that didn’t hold up. Again, I follow these stories, check sources, and will always make a correction if warranted.

    • Aaron Perlut

      Thank you, Alex.

  • Alex Ihnen

    After this story went live, Jacob Kirn of the St. Louis Business Journal Tweeted the following: “Dennis Lower, CEO of Cortex, ‘absolutely not true’ that Target has signed letter of intent. ‘total fabrication’ @GeoffWhoLou @nextSTL”

    As Editor of nextSTL, I stand by, and have stood by Geoff’s reporting for more than two years. As always, I will also follow this story and if any change or correction is warranted, it will be made.

  • Tim E

    Thanks Geoff, I think most CityTargets to date have been part of a residential development, ground floor retail for a residential tower. Thinking Whole Foods in CWE as example. Any insight that CityTarget is actually signing on to be a tenant of a more prominent building, high rise for this corner? or even part of a hotel development? CORTEX has been quiet about the Silo Lofts RFP’s. I wonder if the make up of things are about to change with this.
    As far as the Federal Mogul site. It will much better if things our on hold if it will mean a mixed use, residential, denser development on the site instead of a big box strip mall. However, I think CORTEX needs to deliver on more jobs for the area.