a year after Westwood began buzzing with the news that a Target store would take over the former EXPO Design Center at Weyburn and Glendon avenues, Target announced Monday that they plan to open the long-awaited Westwood outpost in July of 2012.
The "CityTarget" model, a smaller version of the retail chain's big-box stores, would still occupy 98,000 square feet at 10861 Weyburn Ave., across from Trader Joe's and an easy walk from the UCLA campus. It's smaller than Target's normal stores, which average 126,000 square feet according to company figures, but still about double the size of the nation's median supermarket size of 46,000 square feet, according to the Food Marketing Institute's 2010 numbers.
Target's press release did not specify what sections shoppers could expect to find in the reduced-size store beyond saying the store would offer "urban living essentials, on-trend fashions and exclusive designer collections." However, a grocery section, a liquor department and possibly a pharmacy are likely, said Steven Sann, a UCLA alumnus, chair of the Westwood Community Council, and a partner in the two restaurants at Westwood’s W Los Angeles hotel.
"There will definitely be groceries — that's what I've been told by Target officials," Sann said. "There's drama. There's a possible lawsuit." Ralphs, a tenant in the building Target will join, has said it would sue the landlord for breaching a contract allegedly promising that Ralphs Fresh Fare would be the building's only grocery store, Sann added.
Mya Walters, a senior manager in Target Communications could not confirm additional details.
Westwood's old EXPO building on Weyburn and Glendon is the proposed site of the new Target. Photo by Alison Hewitt.
"Target is still determining specifics around our merchandise for this location, but guests can expect to find the wide selection of high-quality merchandise they’ve come to expect from Target," Walters wrote in an email.
Sann said the neighborhood is excited at the prospect of gaining a Target.
"We are thrilled that Target is coming, but we just wish they would bring more of the Target merchandise that we love and less of the groceries, liquor and pharmacy products that Westwood Village already has," he said. "Most of the people who I’ve spoken with in the Village agree."
He's intrigued by the CityTarget concept, Sann said. This will be the first CityTarget in Los Angeles.
"CityTargets will not be simply a smaller format," Sann said. "They're not expecting only suburbanites coming for bulk purchases. They expect many of the customers will be people on foot. If you look at Trader Joe's, which has been tremendously successful in Westwood, much of their traffic isn't people driving in to load up, but people coming in for lunch or walking in and carrying a bag or two at a time. Target thinks many of their customers will be people walking from the dorms or the Village who don't want to carry huge items, so they're taking the emphasis off of bulk purchases."
When Target first began applying for permits more than a year ago, Bruins and Westwood merchants alike voiced hopes that the store could help revitalize the neighborhood. The blog Curbed Los Angeles expressed similar hopes this week, and in one clear sign of what the store will carry, Curbed also noted that Target applied for a liquor license for the Westwood location.
The building Target plans to occupy was once the largest retail space in Westwood, and was originally a four-story Bullock's Department Store when it was built in 1951. It is currently occupied by a Ralphs grocery store, a Best Buy, and at the top level, the UCLA Westwood Child Care Center operated by Bright Horizons Family Solutions.