Metreon 2.0 Rendering

The makeover of the Metreon breaks ground today. The expansion and relocation of the Metreon’s food court which will overlook Yerba Buena Gardens should be done by the end of the year while San Francisco’s first Target remains on target for a spring 2012 opening.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by SoMa resident

    Nice! Can’t wait for this to open up. Will be so convenient for SoMa residents.
    Anyone know if this going to be a full service Target, i.e. groceries and all?

  2. Posted by radar

    Just what we need in S.F…..another corporate right wing discrimination agenda. See progressive message which came today below re: Target
    “It’s not that Big Business doesn’t recognize the benefits of disclosure. It’s that they are far more concerned with what is best for their bottom line than what is best for the future of our country.”
    One of their own even said as much right in the New York Times:
    [The lobbyist] said that the order as now drafted would… [subject] them to harassment and protests if their political spending were disclosed.
    As one example, he pointed to the Target Corporation, which was the object of boycotts and protests at its stores last year after reports said that the company gave $150,000 to a Minnesota business group that supported a Republican candidate opposed to gay marriage. “This is meant to have a chilling effect,” he said of the disclosure plan.
    “Harassment and protests” is business code for “the people exercising their voice.” Big corporations don’t want to disclose their spending because they’re afraid we’ll be able to hold them accountable like we did to Target. But that’s exactly what we need to be able to do.

  3. Posted by Greg

    Give me a break Radar. Is there anything big box which meets your progressive purity test?
    I , for one, am happy to have a place to buy cheap non artisanal socks.

  4. Posted by CSK

    “they are far more concerned with what is best for their bottom line than what is best for the future of our country.”
    Are the two mutually exclusive?
    Hold them accountable by not shopping there…thats the quickest way to their “bottom line”.

  5. Posted by Astonished

    I will never understand the Bay Arean hatred towards Southern California, when people get enthusiastic for architecture like this? This has the odor of what drives many to flee other urban areas.

  6. Posted by Wai Yip Tung

    Plenty of politicians oppose gay marriage, like Bush for example. Are we suppose to boycott all business who has ever donated money to them? I can see somewhere there will be idiots calling for boycotting any business who have ever give money to Gavin Newsom because he’s pro gay marriage.
    This is a world of multitude. You need to learn to accept other’s opinion whose different than yours.

  7. Posted by noearch

    This makeover will be great for the building and to re-position the space in a better way for the public.
    As for Target, well it seems that Radar, unfortunately, represents a rather large vocal part of San Francisco who can’t seem to leave politics and social issues out of ANYTHING.
    Guess what Radar? There is never going to be one company, one business, one place, one politician or one political ideology that will satisfy every single facet of society.
    If you don’t like Target, then don’t shop there.

  8. Posted by Longtime-Lurker

    “Just what we need in S.F…..another corporate right wing discrimination agenda”
    LOL, yeah, we’re loaded with corporate right wing discrimination agenda. I saw tons of it at the the Hunky Jesus contest, so I hopped on my bicycle for Critical Mass, went to a community forum to block the opening of Lowe’s on Bayview for 10 fucking years, then bought some weed at a local dispensary, got a sex change which the City paid for as I’m a municipal employee, and then walked my dog as I am his official “pet guardian”.

  9. Posted by CameronRex

    Excellent Longtime-Lurker – LOL. You hit your ‘target’ dead center. SF may not be as crazy liberal as some media sources like to suggest…but a center for the ‘right wing discrimination agenda’ its NOT.

  10. Posted by tipster

    They are still intending on opening a second one at Geary and Masonic.
    This will put a large number of smaller, locally owned businesses out of business. Not taking sides on this, but it’s one thing to be efficient, and another to be able to squeeze your suppliers as completely as Target can or have the scale to order stuff directly from China.
    When smaller companies go out of business, their owners suffer. Fewer employees are hired by an efficient Target. And then rents fall. And so the local owners of the buildings suffer too because they all take a haircut in lower rents. My sense is that two stores will rival the impact of Facebook, Twitter and Zynga combined in terms of dollars flowing out of the local economy due to Target compared to the dollars spent (and not saved) flowing in from IPOs.
    A short term influx of union construction jobs followed by the proverbial “giant sucking sound”. Everyone laughed at that comment by Ross Perot. He turned out to be dead right on.
    I’m a big Target fan, but I’m not blind to its effects.

  11. Posted by sfrenegade

    “SF may not be as crazy liberal as some media sources like to suggest…but a center for the ‘right wing discrimination agenda’ its NOT.”
    That’s why it’s laughable whenever the “progressive” wing of the Board of Stupidvisors refers to some “right wing” agenda whenever it disagrees with a policy that the “moderate” wing proposes.

  12. Posted by Ivan

    “It’s that they are far more concerned with what is best for their bottom line than what is best for the future of our country”
    Radar,
    That’s what companies do (big and small). Make money. Welcome to capitalism.

  13. Posted by kathleen

    Southern California = Better Weather, Better Beaches, beautiful bodies, cooler cars, cheaper real estate, trendier architecture.
    That is why we hate you.

  14. Posted by Willow

    “My sense is that two stores will rival the impact of Facebook, Twitter and Zynga combined in terms of dollars flowing out of the local economy due to Target compared to the dollars spent (and not saved) flowing in from IPOs.”
    You’re seriously joking aren’t you tipster? Please do stop. At this stage it’s a single Target store in the entire San Francisco. I think the city is big enough to absorb it. If anything Target will most likely lose customers from other stores that are close to the city.

  15. Posted by SFBuyer

    When is the Masonic/Geary target supposed to open? Doesn’t look like they’ve started anything there.

  16. Posted by tipster

    Not joking. Long family history in retailing. Multiple relatives. I’ve seen one store take a whole extended family with multiple homes out of an area equivalent to pac heights and put them into studio apartments in cheap areas.
    My cousin went from a big house and expensive cars managing a small chain of his family’s retail stores to working as a security guard and is now unemployed. Cousins, second cousins, an aunt and an uncle, all filed bankrupties. They were in big malls, so I don’t know what the impact on the building owners was, but in SF, the building owners are more likely to be small and local.
    It’s a big impact and it gets repeated over and over again. Until you’ve seen it, you can’t believe it. Lots of retail people live pretty high: the business is all about flash. None of them had anything saved. Sold their homes to live on. All the homes were big and in the best areas. Unfortunate reality. Every segment Target is in is going to be hit hard.
    It’s like locusts. The loss of volume hits and turns a money making business into a money losing one. Even the upper middle target stays out of will get hit because of the price differential. Sure people can travel to one now, but I rarely do. It makes a big impact. You can’t believe it until you’ve lived through it.

  17. Posted by lyqwyd

    I could see Target competing with Safeway, Lucky’s and other big grocery chains, as well as big retail chains like Nordstrom & Macy’s, but what local businesses are they competing with in SF? Maybe some dollar stores in the Mission…
    Since you have personal experience, what type of stores were your relatives running that were put out of business. What areas were they operating in?
    Since tons of SF residents already make regular trips to the Daly City/Colma or El Cerrito targets, I don’t see much impact at all.

  18. Posted by SomaSoldier

    The Geary and Masonic shopping center previously mentioned is very suburban in its layout, and not a very efficient one at that. Unless the property owners are able to completely rebuild it as an urban-focused plaza, it is unlikely that anyone other than a big-box retailer would fit in those spaces.
    I’m not straight, but I like shopping at Target. It’s good value for the money. I base my decision on supporting them or not on 1) whether executives donate company funds to campaigns (they did), and the degree to which company practices overall are discriminatory (they seem relatively respectful). I’d give Target an average rating. And if they were to become discriminatory, there are other places to shop.
    Efficiencies of scale is how big box retail is a success for both consumer and bottom line. SF does have a tool to prevent too many of those from entering the city’s marketplace, and it seems that it sometimes goes too far in that direction (Trader Joe’s, etc.).
    Lastly, I’d rather large retail spaces in SF be occupied than not. Witness the decades-old barren storefronts along Market, where decay feeds on itself and spreads as a neighborhood declines.

  19. Posted by A.T.

    I generally agree with lyqwyd that the new Target(s) will generally just cannibalize business from other big box stores outside of SF and other big supermarkets, chain drugstores, and department stores in SF. But I also think they will take a not insubstantial amount of business from mom-and-pop stores, including office supply stores, hardware and gardening stores, clothing stores, pet supply stores, and corner markets.

  20. Posted by lyqwyd

    I also think Target’s average on corporate evil scale, but regarding the disclosure of campaign funding information by corporations, I’m absolutely in favor of it. It will allow people to make better informed decisions.
    When big companies or governments keep secrets it is, in my opinion, never to the benefit of the general public.

  21. Posted by sfrenegade

    “Since tons of SF residents already make regular trips to the Daly City/Colma or El Cerrito targets, I don’t see much impact at all.”
    Yeah, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Serramonte and Colma Merchants’ Association (if there is such a think) was bankrolling the knee-jerk “progressive” wing against Target. They are more than happy to encourage empty store fronts in mid-Market to “prevent gentrification.” The reality is that you can either pay your sales taxes to San Mateo County or you can pay them to San Francisco County. Of course, it’s more likely to go to waste in the latter, so maybe in terms of societal good, the progressive wing wins the day on this one.

  22. Posted by noearch

    Anybody know what tipster is talking about?
    methinks a bunch of rambling nonsense.

  23. Posted by ex SF-er

    IMO Target may cause a few mom and pop stores to close, but it will really put pressure on further out Big Box Stores (as mentioned above) and also Walgreens.
    There are tons of Walgreens all over SF. I think Target could eat into that somewhat.
    ======
    Overall I like Target. I think people were really shocked about the Target political donation fiasco because Target is such a monstrously huge employer of the LGBT community and very active in the LGBT community. It supports the Mpls Gay Pride event, it supports the MN Aids walk (even back when this was a big no-no), it has offered same sex domestic partner benefits for many many years (again when that was not cool). it’s very gay friendly.
    Thus, the support of Emmer (hostile vs gays) was surprising to say the least. Obviously, they did it because they felt his corporate tax policy was better.
    it wouldn’t have made news if it was Walmart… but Target? it’s like Banana Republic supporting Reverend Phelps.

  24. Posted by rubber_chicken

    ^ …More hearsay about the effect of big box retailers on family businesses. I don’t doubt that an effect exists, but I’d like to see some legit studies and analysis (some must exist, no?), before taking a position on this.
    A counter argument would say that big stores like H&M, Macys, Bloomies or Target create draws of their own with collateral benefits to small businesses: All those shoppers have to eat lunch, get coffee, and may impulse buy some artisan shoes on the way from the parking garage, etc. This is the concept behind every mall with an Anchor tenant and smaller shops.

  25. Posted by Willow

    tipster: I suspect you are just trolling like you often do.
    Anyway, it will be interesting to see how Target price their merchandise. (I’m sure there will be the San Francisco premium mark-up.) Oh well, those black Mossimo tees are pretty good for less than $10.

  26. Posted by tipster

    You guys don’t know what you are talking about. This has been studied extensively.
    Target is a tougher search term, Wal Mart is easier to locate articles. They typically study the effect on small towns, and I’m sure you can identify some legitimate differences, but until you see the effects, you can’t really believe how it devastates retailers of all kinds.
    http://www.larouchepub.com/other/2003/3045walmart_iowa.html
    Again, I like Target, but I’ve seen what it can do. It isn’t pretty.

  27. Posted by Wai Yip Tung

    Actually many Chinatown, Clement St stores are quite competitive to big box. As big as they look, big boxes don’t really carry whole lot of inventory for their size. One time I was looking for a screw driver. Neither hardware store nor Walgreen has anything decent under $5. By chance I step into a Chinese variety store on Polk St and found what I need for $1.5. Before I leave, I go treasure hunting and load up a bunch of stuff I was looking for but never found elsewhere. Some people should help them these small guys with marketing and yelp them way up.
    The other way is to go high end, organic, artisan, etc. Too expensive for me though.

  28. Posted by Wai Yip Tung

    I fancy about a reinvigorated Meteron though. Target is on second floor. So any small retails on the ground floor got to be able to capture the foot traffic and raise brand awareness. Obviously you need to sell something different rather than competing on toilet paper and detergent.

  29. Posted by Eric in SF

    I don’t have a solution to the big-box-destroys-small-retail but I can relate my own experience with family back in suburbia:
    * They all admit it’s bad to lose small businesses in a community
    * They all admit Wal-Mart is a bad company.
    * They all were 1000x more interested in saving money, at all costs.
    They’re not SF liberals by any stretch, but most of them are college educated professionals and all of them are hard workers with families and homes.
    I gave up. There was no reaching any of them.

  30. Posted by Mole Man

    Regarding the style of the Metreon, the building is a big and nasty box to begin with. It would take a skilled architect and a lot of money to make something really nice out of it. The objections make sense, but realistically this is probably about the best we could hope for. The strange, unworkable dream that eventually gave rise to this place deserves most of the blame.
    The phenomenon that tipster is talking about is well documented. Stacy Mitchell’s book Big Box Swindle goes into a great deal of detail. Not only to retailers of scale dominate suppliers and customers, but the economics involve a lot of well intended tax breaks and other questionable regulations that tilt the balance in favor of big box retailers.
    Capitalism is a foundational element of our culture, but it takes the shape we choose. Capitalism when left to itself tends to promote and enforce monopolies and we have made that illegal. Without regulations workers tend to be treated like commodities through practices such as slavery, child labor, and company towns which are all illegal now, at least in their original forms. The benefits of commercial activity naturally form a power law distribution, so devices like progressive taxation are used to spread benefits throughout the society. Now we need to decide on some other issues such as how big is too big to fail and why do we allow that? How big should big box retailers be allowed to get before we start holding them responsible for their source and bidding practices, the state of the market, and the health and welfare of their employees? I don’t have any really good answers to these pressing questions, but I strongly urge people to consider them and avoid trivializing their importance.

  31. Posted by Longtime-Lurker

    Holy cats!
    Tipster, did you really just post an article from the Lyndon LaRouche Intelligence Review?
    LOL… you are nuttier than I thought.

  32. Posted by anon

    I don’t dispute that Target will have an effect on small retailers in the city, I simply think that tipster’s original claim is absurd. Here it is again:
    My sense is that two stores will rival the impact of Facebook, Twitter and Zynga combined in terms of dollars flowing out of the local economy due to Target compared to the dollars spent (and not saved) flowing in from IPOs.
    He’s comparing BILLIONS of dollars coming from various IPOs to the economic impact of one Target store, for a chain that already has multiple stores within a ten mile radius from downtown (and in a city with no capital/population controls at the city borders).

  33. Posted by lyqwyd

    Yeah, it’s pretty clear that big box drives out retail in towns where nothing of the sort exists. That is pretty well documented.
    What seems completely unfounded is the idea that Target will have any noticeable impact in SF. Please point out the types of businesses that have survived loads of Walgreens, numerous large department stores, and big discount clothing stores (Ross, Marshalls, etc.), but will be destroyed by Target.
    I contend that the type of business that would be driven out by Target has already been driven out by the above.

  34. Posted by tc_sf

    “Please point out the types of businesses that have survived loads of Walgreens”
    But conversely, how many non-Walgreens drug stores are left in SF?
    Book stores seem to have done somewhat better, but a number of independent stores closed over the last few years. Ironically, Borders itself had to close a few SF stores just recently.
    I didn’t think that the distress to independent stores caused by large chains was seriously questioned. There is a great deal of debate as to whether the net effect to the community is positive or negative though.
    I agree that SF tends to have a number of boutique retailers that carry products not found in Target. But those carrying the same product line seem to have quite an uphill fight ahead.

  35. Posted by Craeg

    Sorry tipster, anyone who associates in any way with Lyndon larouche is a supreme ass@hole. This is the guy who has his followers walk around with posters of Obama as hitler

  36. Posted by noearch

    The original Metreon building was designed by SMWM, a women owned firm (mbme) that did some excellent work designing schools and interiors. This was not one of their best projects. They are now defunct having been absorbed or bought by Perkins & Will Architects.
    I’m still trying to track down the new firm who will be designing the remodel. Anyone know?
    Anyway, Target is not the evil empire. Yes, they have not been exactly gay friendly in the past with their donations to right wing groups but they do other great causes.
    Besides, I recently bought some pretty cool t shirts and shorts there, and they had great prices and ah……..cool stuff.

  37. Posted by lyqwyd

    “how many non-Walgreens drug stores are left in SF?”
    that’s exactly my point, businesses that might have been pushed out of a city with no big retail have already been pushed out by the big retail that has already existed in SF for decades. I’m sure some small number of local businesses will be affected, but I don’t it will be a measurable amount.

  38. Posted by Happy Tree

    Can someone tell me which Mom & Pop stores around 4th & Mission are gonna go out of business because of Target? I just see Walgreens, CVS and a Rite Aid every few blocks.
    Otherwise, I am really drawing a blank here and I work downtown. Just seem to me that people are against it just for the sake of it. Let it go folks… We have the choice between the Metreon as a dead center of god knows what or a thriving business attracting customers.

  39. Posted by sunset guy

    To all of the claims that Target stores kill off other small retailers, according to Community Impact Report completed by the City of San Rafael on the new store there “there will be minimal impact on the downtown San Rafael merchants”.
    Most small merchants got out of dealing in the items that Target sells a long time ago. To survive as a small retail you have to provide services and goods that people want and will pay for and not compete on price. Target doesn’t compete with small retail stores. They compete with other large chains.
    As for the argument about Target being anti-gay that is just bunk. As a gay man who is a consultant who works with the team that designs Targets I have never been treated with anything but respect. The gay employees and the other gay consultant have nothing but respect for the company. Yes the CEO made a stupid move by making a donation without vetting the organization properly but if you compare the money given in that donation to the amount give monthly or annually to great causes it is just small change.

  40. Posted by EH

    Happy Tree: Really? Consider Jeffrey’s Toys and Patrick & Co. for starters.

  41. Posted by Wai Yip Tung

    Shout out for Cole Hardware on 4th St. The store is much bigger than they look on the street because they have a large basement.

  42. Posted by Jamie

    In addition to the Target refurb, the Yerba Buena CBD has 35(!!) streets cape and open space projects that will really transform the area into less of another SoMa freeway ramp drive-thru into a much more pedestrian-oriented neighborhood. Cool stuff going on in the Yerba Buena neighborhood!

  43. Posted by needaname

    I would guess that Target won’t be competing with Cole Hardware, or at least where there is market overlap (cleaning supplies for instance), Cole is already competing with the other big retailers in the area (Walgreens, Rite Aid, …).
    I shop at Cole Hardware a lot, but almost entirely for tools and hardware, neither of which target carries in any meaningful way.

  44. Posted by BobN

    When the first big-box stores tried to get into SF, those of us opposed were told to relax… it’s just one store. I see we’ve gotten to the point where the argument to relax has become there are so many, what’s one more going to hurt…
    And we’re just like every other city in the country. Wooo hooo….
    On a side note, if you’re a capitalist, you only make yourself look dishonest — or remarkably stupid — if you try to deny what corporate capitalism does. Own the blandness! Be proud of the profit siphoning!

  45. Posted by sfrenegade

    “And we’re just like every other city in the country.”
    Really? Most cities in the US that have 800K people have as few Big Box stores as San Francisco?

  46. Posted by molly

    Is the design change going to drive off the gang-banger teens? The Metreon is a magnet for trouble.

  47. Posted by BobN

    “Really? Most cities in the US that have 800K people have as few Big Box stores as San Francisco?”
    Can’t say I have visited enough places where there’s a core city of 800K surrounded by several million in adjacent suburbs and another major city 50 miles away.
    My point, since it wasn’t clear apparently, is that our retail choices are getting more and more like the retail choices in every other place in the country world. Some people like that. I don’t, but if I did, I wouldn’t engage in deception about what has happened and where it will all lead.

  48. Posted by Dan

    Union Square is filled with chain stores. SF has had easy access to Target stores in Daly City/Colma for years. Target will compete with Walgreens and Safeway for household items and Marshalls and Ross for clothes. The types of products being sold at all of these stores are not unique to SF. Target is not competing with stores that sell products unique-to-SF.

  49. Posted by noearch

    I agree with what Sunset guy has to say. It seems he has direct experience in dealing with Target as a gay man, and has had a good experience.
    Far too often, the social politics of many San Franciscans “clouds” the real issues of a topic. We are talking about DESIGN here, not whether some CEO gave money to an anti-gay organization or not.
    Many San Franciscans just love to get on their liberal soapbox and preach to the world how PC they are..and the rest of the planet is in the dark ages..
    Sometimes just a lot of hot air and attempt to avoid the real story.
    This is about the makeover/re-design of one building in downtown SF. Let’s talk about that.

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