Plans to bring a Target Express to South Park have sparked calls for transparency and accountability by a group of concerned residents.
City officials said the national retail chain has proposed a new location at Grape and Fern Streets that would offer food and pharmacy services as well.
Local residents recently formed the “Care About South Park” group to address questions about the project’s possible impact to traffic, locally owned businesses and existing tenants on the property. Those include a coffee business and a Mexican seafood food truck.
In response to community concerns, City Council President Todd Gloria addressed the issue on his Facebook page last month.
The property owner had been working with Rite Aid and CVS when he was approached by Target, the councilmember said.
“Based on the interested applicants, he believed this was the best opportunity for the community and better met the needs of his current customers,” Gloria wrote of the property owner.
The owner is responsible for maintaining the lease agreements with the other current tenants on the site: Captain Kirk’s, Marisco’s Seafood, and the recycling center, the statement said.
The owner told the city “the agreements with both Rite Aid and CVS were significantly more restrictive than Target relative to the current tenants remaining on the property” and that the agreement with Target would give him control over that part of the property, according to the statement.
Through a spokesperson, Target said it is working with Gloria and various community groups on the proposed site.
"What we’ve heard from the South Park community has already influenced some of our decision-making," Erika Winkles said. "For example, we will not feature a Starbucks in our store because we know the adjacent coffee cart is a popular neighborhood fixture and a gathering place for residents."
Winkles also said the store will strive to offer organic produce sourced from California.
South Park residents told NBC 7 they are asking for development plans and research from Target.
“We are asking for accountability and transparency,” said John Moore, a 20-year South Park resident who is a member of Care About South Park. “We think that no matter which side of the issue you’re on, whether for Target or against, people need to get educated.”
The group publicly called on Gloria Tuesday to meet with them. A spokesperson for Gloria told NBC 7 he is more than happy to meet with them.