CFAH

The Metreon (Image Source: San Francisco Business Times)
Unanimously approved by the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency on Tuesday, an 85,000 square foot Target could be open for business in the Metreon by mid-2012.

The project calls for the dramatic massive vertical glass fin Metreon sign at Fourth and Market to be replaced with a 22-foot diameter illuminated bull’s-eye sign. At the Nov. 16 hearing, project manager Amy Neches said the red and white sign would be “artistic and textured.”

“This is not your typical plastic Target you would see in the suburbs,” she said.

The development is expected to generate $120,000 annually in payroll tax, $5.4 million in sales tax, and an additional $1 million at the city-owned 5th and Mission garage.

In addition to the Target, the Metreon will move and triple the size of its food court. Instead of a dark, 110-seat food court shoved into a ground floor corner, the new collection of eateries will feature 470 seats and overlook Yerba Buena Gardens.

Efforts to put a Target at Geary and Masonic continue on.
Metreon Target wins approvals [San Francisco Business Times]
One Word: Target. Okay, Four: Target At The Metreon? [SocketSite]
YIMBY’s Set Their Sights On A Target At Geary And Masonic [SocketSite]

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by Dubocian

    Bravo on two counts: The Metreon will finally find a purpose beyond just the theaters, and we’ll finally get a Target in SF and stop sending all those tax dollars to Colma (not to mention the gas that gets used to get there.)
    Wonder if opening two Targets in SF will mean that they will no longer need two huge Target stores (spaced only a couple of blocks apart!) in Colma…

  2. Posted by A.T.

    Kudos to Target’s P.R. department! They treat their employees just as badly as Wal-Mart and pay them no better (perhaps worse), their benefits are even more meager, they are as staunchly anti-union, and they give big money to anti-gay politicians. Yet the same SF bureaucrats and residents who cannot say “Wal-Mart” without invective-laced gagging cheer at the prospect of a Target opening in SF. Those people are really good at the spin needed to expand into new cities.
    I’m not a big fan of either for lots of reasons. But as for the few things I’d buy at either place, I’ll take Wal-Mart as their prices are lower.

  3. Posted by SF

    Call me old fashioned but I miss the days of San Francisco having more independent stores. Would be great if this could be a coop of 50 vendors like the jewelry or design center.

  4. Posted by invented

    Bloomies across street — I’m loving the mix-up. What I really like is taking advantage of the Yerba park asset and positioning the eateries accordingly. No one comes to SF to eat in a cave. Which is why I’d love to see a vast promenade on the water in Mission Bay, better uses for the periphery of GG Park and on. (taller bldgs with views for ex.). Let’s open up our amazing resources & vistas to visitors and residents alike.

  5. Posted by givemeabreak

    agree invested, but when SF starts charging the $6.00 entrance fee (on top of very high parking fines, stringent parking enforcement, lack of cabs, muni!, lack of daytime parking at suburban BART), that will keep me from visiting your lovely city. Oh, I can bike across the Bay Bridge, right

  6. Posted by Willow

    This is good news. Target may not be the perfect corporate citizen but which company really is? They actually sell stuff people need. It’s going to generate jobs, increase tax revenue and revitalize the Metreon with much needed (affordable) retail.

  7. Posted by tipster

    It will be interesting to see what the ripple effects will be from this. Lots of small retail businesses are teetering in a down economy and this will probably be the final push. You don’t see nearly the number of small retail in Sacramento, Stockton or Modesto that we have here: it’s impossible for a small retailer to compete against a Target. This gives retailers plenty of notice not to renew their leases.
    Those businesses pay better and use people less efficiently than target, so I doubt the payroll tax difference will be positive at all, probably net negative by $120K, but the extra sales tax and parking fees will help the city a lot.
    The city would save a lot of money if more people ditched their cars. Road maintenance costs a lot of money. This will add another very small reason why people can do without a car in SF, but every reason adds up and so it will help the city there too. The fewer street repair people we have to pay, the more the city saves. So as the city keeps giving people reasons to get out of their cars, it gets cheaper and cheaper to run the city. As people give up their cars, the need to knock out a TJs because of parking concerns lessens too.

  8. Posted by Patrick S

    I agree 100% with “Invented” (above). Let’s use our city and resources from every angle and stop naysaying every attempt to build, reuse, or repurpose urban spaces.

  9. Posted by lyqwyd

    I don’t think this will hurt small businesses all that much, a lot of people already drive to Colma or the east bay to go to Target, this will just keep those people in SF.
    Look at it this way, there’s been a Home Depot for years in SF, but there are still tons of small and medium independent hardware/ lumber stores, and even a few large ones.

  10. Posted by rr

    @tipster what independent businesses in this city compete with target? For example, the only places I know that sells a decent bath towel in the city are BBB on 9th, which is already a large chain, and the design houses in SOMA that want $75/ea (not really, but you get my point). I suppose a bunch of places in Chinatown sell them too, but I don’t know where they are and the people that shop them are unlikely to go to target instead.
    No mission hipster is going to buy Target clothing, Walgreens already kicked out all the independent drug stores, and my list goes on.
    @SF The problem is that residents of the city have already shown a desire for big-box stores, since many of us drive to Colma on a regular basis to shop there. Simply excluding big boxes from the city limits won’t keep the independents alive, so at this point, we’re just wasting gas, causing traffic, and sending revenue to our neighbors by keeping them out of San Francisco

  11. Posted by lyqwyd

    hmm… I guess I should have verified before posting, there does not appear to be one in SF, I must have been thinking of something else, I still think Target will not harm small business much, but obviously my example is wrong. Sorry about that.

  12. Posted by ex SF-er

    I also am happy that a Target is going there, but then again I like Target in general.
    I will say that Target will definitely put some pressure on small businesses. whether or not that should exclude them from the SF city limits is a matter of philosophical debate.
    I do question the tax figures above. “The development is expected to generate $120,000 annually in payroll tax, $5.4 million in sales tax”
    it would be more interesting to know what the NET effect on the city will be.
    if Target generates $120k in payroll taxes but it closes down 10 businesses that generated $10k each ($120k total) in payroll tax, then it’s a net “0” for the city.
    same with sales tax.
    the primary question is: will Target steal business from other local small businesses, or from the Big Box retailers in the ‘burbs? (obviuously it’s going to be a combo… so what percentage from each category).

  13. Posted by lolcat_94123

    Nothing wrong with a big box chain store here or there. Look at how empty union street is now because all the little boutiques shut down. Yet chestnut is still thriving because it has a couple big box stores to maintain a constant influx (pottery barn, apple, etc).
    Better to put target there than the current pathetic setup they have at the metreon. What a wasteland. I do miss the martini bar they used to have though.

  14. Posted by Oceangoer

    Right on target (oops, no pun intended) lolcat. Union Street is a disaster with all the small stores catering to a very distinct clientele and restaurants, but no real mix to bring people in. It has totally lost its way, and the comparison to Chestnut Street is valid. Its not just the chains: Apple, Pottery Barn, William Sonoma, but also two really good local movie theaters all mixed up with interesting small stores.

  15. Posted by tipster

    Small retail is brutal. You just don’t make that much money because you get screwed on the prices from the vendors. I’ve tried to get stuff wholesale that TJs carries, and I usually cannot get a wholesaler to give me more than one cent per unit off the price TJs sells it for. Lots of stuff is actually cheaper at TJs than it is for me wholesale, so we buy it from TJs. It just doesn’t take much to tip a money making enterprise into a money losing enterprise.
    Look at the larger of the hardware stores in the city. Half of the space is devoted to target like stuff: small electrics, pots, pans, bathroom scales etc. Take half of that business away from them and you have the difference between a profit and a loss. Will the soap store on Fillmore survive when 20% of its business gets siphoned away? They are probably losing money in this economy as it is. The baby stores in Laurel village and on Chestnut Street? There are hundreds of these types of businesses. You just don’t realize how many there are.
    You can’t afford to pay someone to sit at the register all day to ring up 30 sales per day. The cashiers at Target run more than 30 sales through in an hour. So 8 small retailers cashiers get laid off, for every one target person that gets hired.
    As for mission hipsters, target has lots of stuff they need, so they’ll probably add a few basics from Target to their wardrobes and you won’t even notice. Their old retailer will notice in a big hurry.
    I’m not opposed to this at all: I’m happy for it (though it puts mid Market into 6 more weeks of winter) but to think that this isn’t going to change the retail landscape in the city is naive.

  16. Posted by EH

    Did they even *think* to ask Merrill’s? Travesty.

  17. Posted by condoshopper

    but even as big box stores shut down small business (with whom they have competing products), isn’t there something to be said for the big box store drawing foot traffic to make other small businesses, new and existing, flourish even more?

  18. Posted by Dubocian

    Um, Merrill’s closed three or four years ago. There’s no one to ask. Just another shuttered storefront in the wasteland that is mid-Market.

  19. Posted by ex SF-er

    but even as big box stores shut down small business (with whom they have competing products), isn’t there something to be said for the big box store drawing foot traffic to make other small businesses, new and existing, flourish even more?
    yes, with caveats
    1) it brings in foot traffic, but that traffic may/may not have come from somewhere else in the city.
    So it’s not really a benefit to SF as a whole if Target increases foot traffic to small biz in SoMa, but pulls foot traffic away from let’s say the Castro
    2) it may bring in foot traffic, but the surrounding small businesses must then differentiate themselves from what Target offers.
    so if you are a small biz that sells toasters and mops and small electronics you will likely get slaughtered if Target opens next door.
    if you sell stuff that Target doesn’t have you may do better than without Target nearby. (so for example a pet store that sells higher end pet food, or used video games or lingerie or something).
    this is the same as the strip mall (and regular mall) model… where you have a few anchor stores and then “specialty” shops between them.

  20. Posted by lolcat_94123

    This is at 4th and mission, not in the middle of strollersville noe valley. What small businesses are there which are going to be affected – the Sprint store? Denny’s? Office Depot? Bloomingdale’s? Quizno’s? I don’t think any shops nearby are going to view this negatively.

  21. Posted by curmudgeon

    I still much prefer Target in MidMarket (sigh), but at least they are clustering the food court uses overlooking the gardens and activating that side of the building. It’s actually been a tragedy how little that amenity has been taken advantage of by the current Metreon. There are big beautiful views from the the Theater, and of course they’ve filled it in with all of those junky arcade games….
    But…it’s still not ideal…the Metreon is perfectly placed to intercept conventioneers and also attract city folk. Some kind of mix of retail/eating/drinking establishments makes much more sense than a big box store. The Metreon had sort of the right idea, but a terrible design and poor execution (particularly once the “urban entertainment” project they built started falling apart).
    Conventioneers don’t need much from Target, and it’s certainly something they can find in their hometown. It’s too bad that the space couldn’t have been used for something more uniquely San Francisco.
    And I’m not saying this because I’m necessarily anti-big box or anti-Target (although I would certainly like to see them do something positive to counteract their political contributions…). As I said, I think the perfect place for Target is in the now approved big box mall on Market between 5th and 6th). Hey..they’d even have a little parking there! (lol…please don’t start that parking discussion again!)

  22. Posted by mmr

    any idea how this will impact the new “city place” mall just a few blocks away? It seems like Target would have been precisely the type of tenant that city place would want. Obviously there won’t be two targets a few blocks from one another…

  23. Posted by Denis

    I agree that Target should’ve been placed mid-market. This still seems a strange place for this type of store. It’s not exactly easy to get to. Nearby parking is fairly expensive and the 5th Mission garage not easy to access, it’s not a great place to buy bulk items. Are you supposed to wheel your shopping carts across 5th? It sounds just awful. Cars turning left from Mission onto 5th rarely stop for pedestrians. Besides the expense of parking kind of negates the money “saved” by shopping there. Maybe it’s just me, but I imagine Target to be the place where families make a weekly or monthly stop to load up on household necessities. It’s not really the type of store you’d go every couple of days. Buying enough supplies for even a small family would likely necessitate having a car.
    Anyway, I seriously doubt I would ever go here. I’ve only been to Colma target once in the last 5 years. People who live in the northern part of the city probably won’t go here because it’s a PITA to get to while residents of the Richmond and Sunset will probably find Colma easier to get to, as would those living in District 10.

  24. Posted by Delancey

    What small businesses are there which are going to be affected
    Cole Hardware, 100 yards away on 4th street?

  25. Posted by [anon.ed]

    Target doesn’t really impact hardware stores, does it?

  26. Posted by R

    “Nearby parking is fairly expensive” $3.50 an hour
    “5th Mission garage not easy to access” multiple entrances from 5th, Minna and Mission.
    “Cars turning left from Mission onto 5th rarely stop for pedestrians” There is no left turn on 5th, besides, you’d be nowhere near there. You’d be at 4th and Mission, across the street from Metreon (where there is also no left turn).

  27. Posted by Lollll

    One time, I tried to walk into a Target and I missed.

  28. Posted by Denis

    Yeah, I noticed my mistake. I was in a hurry and clearly didn’t proofread. Of course, I meant cars turning right onto 4th from Mission.. Not sure what I was smoking there..
    Anyway, I still hate that garage.

  29. Posted by curmudgeon

    I think Denis was confusing 4th and 5th (and maybe left turns with right turns?). The RIGHT turn from Mission to 4th is particularly awful because of the large volume of peds. Savvy parkers at the garage know to make sure they exit into the backside Alley to avoid the mess.
    I think the idea of a downtown Target is similar to ANY dowtown store (Macy’s, etc). You buy stuff you can carry…either to your car or onto Muni. And you shop more often. Not weekly…but no huge suburban style shopping trips. I’m sure that Target will adjust their stock accordingly.
    Thinking about it..I’d be interested to know how the Container Store operates. Do they have some sort of delivery system for when someone buys a lot of elfa shelving, or do you carry everything out the door? If the Container Store can make it work, I’m perfectly sure that Target can.

  30. Posted by Scooter

    The Container Store has a dock that you can drive right up to to pick up your purchases. It is to the left if you stand facing the store. There is also a public parking garage under that block, with an entrance from Fourth, I discovered the other night!
    I’m curious about the Target love in a city that has seemingly 1,000 Walgreens. What do you all regularly drive all the way to Colma for that you can’t get at your local drugstore?
    I see Target as being good for very specific things that aren’t available elsewhere — a good range of inexpensive holiday decor, for example, or a cheap sofa cushion for a 21-year-old’s apartment, but they are no better than anywhere else (and often more expensive) for your garden-variety Band Aids or contact solution. I don’t think your local drugstore is in any danger.
    As for bath towels, both Macy’s and Bloomies have a far nicer selection (and much fairer priced, having just gone on a bath towel replacement search!) than BBB.

  31. Posted by joh

    Nearby parking is fairly expensive and the 5th Mission garage not easy to access, it’s not a great place to buy bulk items.
    Don’t confuse Target with Costco. Most of the products they carry come in small sizes, similar to what you’d see at Walgreens or Safeway. It’s important to consider that there’s quite a bit of residential within walking distance of the Metreon. Also workers who might want to stop in before heading home. These customers will probably buy smaller quantities of goods, much like they might at a Walgreens.
    And while Target itself will never be a tourist-destination, I predict that foreign visitors will contribute to their customer base to some extent.
    What do you all regularly drive all the way to Colma for that you can’t get at your local drugstore?
    Cheaper prices. At least significantly cheaper than Walgreens. For me, it’s not so much out of the way, since it’s almost on my route home.

  32. Posted by Wai Yip Tung

    @joh, yes indeed. I heard a small number of tourists ask the question online, “I’m coming to visit US, how can I go to Walmart?” I want to whisper to them that this is not an appropriate question because Walmart is a 4 letter word in SF.

  33. Posted by perplexed

    Target also has one of the most advanced and best forensic crime labs in the country. They are a resource for local PD and the FBI.
    http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2008/0421/102.html
    Considering the inability of the SFPD to solve murder cases here, maybe they could Target as a resource.

  34. Posted by Union SF Rez

    curmudgeon – as someone who works for the convention & visitors bureau, you might be surprised to know that many major Moscone customers supported having a Target at the Metreon location … when you have upward of 30,000 delegates for some shows like Oracle’s OpenWorld many of them are bound to need something or another that they forgot to pack etc and Target @ Metreon will be far more convenient than Macy’s in Union Square for those kinds of purchases … they were also hoping for a more robust food court as an F&B option since the one at Westfield is a little too far and much too crowded on a daily basis to absorb large groups of delegates anyway (and the existing one at Metreon might as well not exist).

  35. Posted by Masagung

    I’m so happy that the plan for Target in the SOMA area has been approved. With all the luxury condos built around the area and the type of renters and homeowners that those buildings attract, it just makes a lot of sense…fits Target’s target audience – up-and-coming young professionals in their mid-20s to mid-30s.
    I think it’s fine for big box stores, such as Target, to move in that particular area. That area (4th & Mission) is saturated with so many name brand stores (i.e., Bloomingdales, Container Store, Ross, etc.). If Target wanted to move into other districts of San Francisco instead (i.e., Castro, Mission, Inner Sunset, etc.), I think people would be up-in-arms about it because of possible small business cannibalization (and rightly so).
    By the time Target opens, the new Transbay Terminal and the central subway station on 4th St. should be midway through their completion (crossing-fingers). Good times ahead for the city! I just hope all this will translate into equity for the SOBE/SOMA condo that I bought in 2007.

  36. Posted by tipster

    Masagung. You bought in a bubble. B-U-B-B-L-E.
    It was a mania. Your condo was NEVER worth what you paid.
    Cisco systems is a solid money making company. It was NEVER worth the $80 per share it sold for in 2000 and has never seen a price above $30 in the ten years since. They have had profitable quarters, all sorts of great news, etc. But that won’t bring back a mania price.
    Got it? Genuine good news is nothing compared to a mania. Target opening just pales by comparison to banks giving million dollar loans to anyone with a pulse and not even requiring them to pay the interest in a market that is guaranteed to rise.
    Unless someone strikes oil underneath your condo, between now and the time the Target opens, your condo will be worth less than it is today. After target opens, it will be worth even less. It was a bubble. It’s deflating. It will continue to do so for many years.
    You won’t see any equity in your lifetime. Everyone in the whole nation will have to die before a new crop of people can be fooled again like it was. Sorry.

  37. Posted by [anon.ed]

    You don’t even know what he paid or what it is, Tipster. Knock it off.

  38. Posted by lol

    .fits Target’s target audience – up-and-coming young professionals in their mid-20s to mid-30s.
    Yup, especially the up-and-coming professionals who are way over their heads into debt. They thought they would have moved up by 2K10 but are now in house arrest indefinitely paying 2X rent. They need a Target.
    I’d think you’d have understood by now that 2007 is not coming back soon, at least not in 2007 dollars, that is. The only hope of a 2007 SOMA condo buyer is high inflation to shrink your debt burden, and provided your pay does keep up with inflation.
    Amazing how 10 years change a culture. In Y2K, I didn’t know anyone over 30 into more than 400K of debt for median priced houses. Today all of my 30-something colleagues and friends are in 500 to 900K of debt. And their paychecks are not much bigger than what they’d been 10 years ago.
    Forget GenX, GenY and Generation Echo, this is the decade of GenDebt.

  39. Posted by Dan

    Yes, tipster, Cisco stock is worth less than in 2000, but Apple stock is worth 10 times what it was worth in 2000.
    Neither fact predicts whether or when any individual will make money on his/her condo sale.

  40. Posted by A.T.

    Sure, maybe SOMA condos will start spilling out some product like the iPod or iPhone that will be enormously profitable and make them stop bleeding value. You know, it could happen — it did to Apple.

  41. Posted by Dan

    Read my post, A.T., before attacking a straw man:
    “Neither fact predicts whether or when any individual will make money on his/her condo sale.”

  42. Posted by tipster

    Don’t be ridiculous. Apple built an enormous addition to their business since the dot com days. If they had stuck with their same business, their value would be nowhere near what it is today. Contrast Dell which hit 53 in March of 2000 and is now at 14, over ten years later. Good solid business, but nothing gives you a bubble value. Nothing.
    Apple’s results would be equivalent to Masagung’s adding 4 bedrooms onto his two bedroom condo.
    Not. Gonna. Happen. Got it? No Chance.

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