The new era of retail in the city of Santa Barbara was supported, in general, by a moderate crowd of residents during a community meeting at Hope Elementary School District on Monday evening.
More than 30 residents received a crash course on the plan for a Target small-format store at the intersection of State Street and La Cumbre Road.
Residents had mainly complimentary comments about the retail store, but concerns about traffic congestion and available parking at the business dominated the dialogue between attendees, city officials and a Target representative.
The roughly 34,000-square-foot project — which was announced in January after Target signed a “long-term” lease with Gryphon Capital, LLC, for the Galleria site — is forecast to open between October and early-November, said John Dewes, regional development manager for Target.
“I see a lot of smiles and groans,” said Santa Barbara City Councilman Eric Friedman, who organized the informational event, after attendees received word of the project timeline.
The site is significantly smaller compared to an average Target size, Dewes said.
Small-format stores in other cities such as San Francisco range from about 12,000 square feet to 50,000 square feet, he said.
A standard Target, like the store on Main Street in Ventura or the Oxnard location on Oxnard Boulevard, can range from about 220,000 square feet to 150,000 square feet.
Santa Barbara’s small-format store will sell portable technology products and entertainment accessories, apparel, beauty supplies, home and sporting goods. It also will house a CVS Pharmacy, and offer a grocery selection, including beer and wine, and a “grab-and-go” Starbucks.
“It’s not just a shrunken target,” Dewes said. “As the store goes on, we learn more about our guests — and we make adjustments. The merchandise is selected and curated to the community.”
Dewes said the city approached Target representatives with street infrastructure improvements surrounding the site, and the company agrees to fund the upgrades.
City traffic engineer Derrick Bailey said the project calls for traffic signal operation changes, new street lighting to illuminate the driveway along La Cumbre Road, and realigning driveways to improve sightlines and road safety.
“Target has been receptive about the overall situation,” Bailey said.
The shopping area at 3891 State St. offers 91 parking spaces on site, and 15 offsite spaces for employees, according to Dewes.
He declined to disclose when the lease is set to expire.
“It’s not something that we would do, and then it would be gone in a year or two,” Dewes said of the Target.
Dewes said Target is looking at additional sites for future stores.
“There’s a potential — particularly after this store is open we will assess that,” he said. “This is not an end-all.”
Conceptual review went before Santa Barbara’s Architectural Board of Review in February, and Target officials plan to return April 23, according to Project Planner Allison DeBusk.
“They will be reviewing some final exterior changes,” DeBusk said. “Beyond that, the city will issue building permits.”
— Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at email@example.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.