Above: Photograph of a Target store in Boston provided by Harbor Bay's Mark Bell, developer of the Center City District proposal
If the Center City District project happens as planned and an “urban” Target locates in downtown East Lansing, the store could offer fresh produce and meats, bringing currently unavailable grocery options downtown.
At ELi’s request, Target’s representative answered specific questions about what we could expect from the store. Speaking through Hill+Knowlton Strategies, Target spokesperson Kristy Welker tells ELi that, “At approximately 22,000 square feet, the new Target store will provide a quick-trip shopping experience with a customized assortment mix” of groceries and other products.
Pressed for specific examples, Welker says that “Target’s existing small-format stores offer a selection of both raw and prepared meats, so both uncooked chicken breasts, hamburger meat and hotdogs are examples of meat offerings that will likely be available at the East Lansing store. The specific grocery assortment will be finalized closer to this store opening.”
Asked about specific examples of fresh produce, Welker says, “Some small produce product examples available at Target’s existing small-format stores include onions, garlic, and select herbs, along with organic fruit and vegetable offerings.”
If Target made these kinds of offerings available, this would expand grocery options downtown. Currently, for example, CVS offers such things as yogurts, milk, eggs, butter, frozen prepared foods, cereal, canned goods (beans, soups, chili), dried goods (pasta, flour, sugar), but does not offer things like uncooked chicken and produce.
Welker adds that “similar Target stores near college campuses offer…grab-and-go items like salads, sandwiches and beverages.” The East Lansing store is also planned to offer “order pickup,” which allows customers to order select items from Target’s website and then to pick them up at the store for at no additional shipping charge. (The Okemos Target store offers this feature.)
At East Lansing’s Planning Commission, Mark Bell of Harbor Bay Real Estate showed photos of “urban” Target groceries, as reproduced above and below. I sent these photos to Target's representative to if these were the kinds of offerings we could expect. These photos are from Target stores in Boston (above) and Philadelphia (below).
Welker replied, “those are examples of other Target small-format stores, so yes, the East Lansing store will have a similar grocery department, but the size may be smaller than what’s represented in those photos given the size of the East Lansing store is 22,000 square feet.”
Besides offering some groceries, the store would include “an assortment of cosmetics, personal care and beauty products; curated assortment of home décor including dorm and apartment essentials; select men’s and women’s apparel and accessories.” (These sound similar to what some other stores now offer downtown.)
Harbor Bay’s Mark Bell has told Planning Commission that the store must open by March 2019 for him to meet the terms of the lease. According to Welker, Target has signed a lease with Harbor Bay, however, “We don’t share details of the lease terms, but can confirm the store is projected to open in 2019.”
Note: This article originally attributed the Target responses to Adam Gasper of Hill+Knowlton Strategies because the email responses to our questions came through him. After it was published, Gasper explained that the responses should be attributed to Kristy Welker of Target. The article has been corrected to reflect this.