We've been dreaming of a Center City Target for many years and we're not alone. This makes sense- for many people, it's been a shlep to go to the Target locations in and around town, in South Philly, the Northeast, and on City Line Avenue. Five years ago, we were stoked to hear about possible plans for a three-story Target on the 1100 block of Market Street but it didn't end up working out in the end. That store would have been a CityTarget concept, with only about 80K sqft of space, compared to the 135K sqft seen at most Target locations.
Over the last year, we've learned that three Target locations will be opening up around town, with the first opening a couple weeks ago at 1128 Chestnut St., in part of the now-finished mixed-use project from Brickstone. Two more are coming soon at 19th & Chestnut and 20th & Pennsylvania. Just today, we set foot inside the new location on Chestnut Street and found a very pared down version of Target in the 19K sqft space.
Though the main entrance sits on Chestnut Street, there's also a second entrance on Sansom Street. Don't be fooled by the parking lot next door though, that's only for building residents, not Target shoppers.
As you'd expect with much less space, the offerings are greatly reduced from what you've come to expect at Target.
Surely Target has an experienced team of MBAs in their Minneapolis HQ determining the precise product mix for this store in order to ensure maximum profitability per square foot. As such, it's interesting to consider what they're selling and what they're not selling in this store. The apparel section is located in the front of the store and is quite small, even though clothing seems to cover much of the footprint of normal sized Target locations. The technology section is likewise very little, with most of the attention focused on accessories like phone covers, headphones, and the like. The grocery section, on the other hand, takes up about half the store. The rest of the space is covered by convenience items, from light bulbs to school supplies to health and beauty, all scaled down from the typical Target location.
This store is a nice addition to Center City and gigantic step up for this block of Chestnut Street. For people living nearby, Target will provide additional convenience and it will make this historically underattractive neighborhood much more desirable for people considering where to live in town. At such a small size, it doesn't do the same things as a traditional Target but this shouldn't much matter. That a Target bullseye now hangs in Market East is a big triumph, and portends increased interest from national retailers in the area. This neighborhood will look completely different in just a couple of years as additional projects like East Market and the Gallery renovation move toward completion, and we will likely look back at this project and the Target as a significant first step toward the future.