San Francisco Hearts TARGET – NIMBYs Thwarted at Abandoned Mervyns on Masonic Last Night

Boy oh boy, at least a couple certified San Francisco NIMBYs had steam coming out of their ears after seeing the warm reception the Target Team got last night. Oh well.

SFist has the reaction, and Alan Wang of KGO-TV / ABC7 has the story, and, oh, here are bits from SF.StreetsBlog‘s hardworking Matt Baumethe Face Book, Dain Fitzgerald, Beth “target! target! target!” SpotswoodBike NOPA, Zach Perkins, and Katie Worth. (Interestingly, SFGate, San Francisco’s Internet Newspaper, has nothing about Our Empty Mervyn’s today, just a bit on Target’s new Harlem joint in New Yawk.)

The upshot on yesterday’s event from the Twitter:

Not a single NIMBY hysteric. Just very understandable concerns and questions. Wow SF, sometimes your reasonability surprises me!”

Well, the NIMBYs will just have to bide their time. They’ll have to put their thinking caps on to combat the likes of lovely Target-fanatic Charlize Theron and her loyal pet, Bullseye. Too bad C.T. wasn’t in town, maybe she could have dropped by and warmed up the nabe (51 F. and windy windy) yesterday evening. Or Heidi Klum, whomever.

And oh, here’s a bit from a rich yuppie* who lives in the the Western Addition (but doesn’t know it). Apparently, he was too busy taking photos with his expensive camera with its expensive image stabilized lens (to later process on his expensive Apple computer) to address the crowd. Oh well.

Now, on with the show:

Step right in for the Community Meeting:

Click to expand

Roam the halls, if you want:

Big, in’nt? About 100,000 square feet big:

But what’s this, “I Heart Target?” What kind of NIMBY meeting is this?

It’s not a NIMBY meeting at all, it’s a YIMBY affair, it’s like when can you move in, Target?

Mercy! Moving on…

Regional Development Manager John Dewes introduced himself to the crowd to kick things off. He said he was here in town “to talk and listen.”

Of course the 130 assembled San Franciscans (mas o menos, that was my nose count) had notes for Target’s straight-outta-Minneapolis Away Team, don’t you know. We had some ideas to express while noshing on straight-outta-the-SoMA-Costco biscotti and Brownie Bites.

But before all that, let’s look at some renderporn du Tar-GHEY:

That was the Geary frontage, here’s the Masonic si-iiiide:

What an improvement:

And what’s this, wind turbines on top? Yes:

The whole shebang will be in the Heart of the City, near the Masonic Trader Joes:

Here’s the close-up:

And just look at all the bus stops:

And here’s the pitch, from straight-out-of-Central-Casting architect Thom Lasley.

Target could open by early 2012, if all things go well. Generally, they open stores during the months of April, July and September, so there you go. This store would have less than 100,000 square feet of selling space, so it will be considerably smaller than a typical suburban Target, which offers you about 135,000 sq.ft. to peruse. Still, a Target is a Target so the product mix wouldn’t be too far off from what you’d expect.

Now comes Question and Answer Time.

1. Howard Epstein, Chair of San Francisco Republican(!) Party, asked about the number of employees at the store. The Masonic outlet would have about 250 employees, as would the proposed Target store down at Metreon in SoMA. Nobody could hazard a guess as to how much these stores would add to the tax base.

2. The Target Team will look into trip generation, the amount of increased activity in the area. They are well aware that they won’t be getting “traditional suburban guests.” Their customers will be younger and be more likely to bike or walk to and fro.

3. District 2 resident and political candidate and mom Kat Anderson asked about the hiring of seniors and students, the availability of a delivery service and whether T would participate in a bike share program. This garnered the replies you’d expect from fashionable Target Communications Manager Sarah Bakken. (Currently, Target does not deliver from stores anywhere in America.)

4. A University Terrace resident said her neighbors supported the proposal. Her daughter inquired about the availability of mac and cheese.

5. A resident from just across the street “loves” T but worries over parking.

6. Another local pushed for the use of renewable energy and local contractors when building time begins.

7. A pushy woman voiced concern over gender and age discrimination when hiring-time starts. Still, she thinks T would be “wonderful for the neighborhood.”

8. A Ewing Terrace resident worried about delivery times and hoped that they wouldn’t come at night. John Dewes said that there would be three to four truck deliveries per week. Then he responded to a question about a development timeline. We’re still way at the beginning now, a conditional use permit and approval from the Planning Department are a ways down the road. However, since the proposal would be just an “interior remodel,”  no CEQA-style environmental impact report should be required. Anyway, project approval could come by the end of 2010.

9. A woman fretted about the line of cars on Masonic due to the nearby Trader Joes and wondered if Target would consider the use of parking attendants to direct drivers. John Dewes “doesn’t see that kind of congestion” on the horizon for Target.

10 A Duboce Park resident polled the neighbors in his building – these are people he knows shop at Target owing to all the shopping bags he sees getting recycled. He said 19 out of 20 people he surveyed supported the Target store on Masonic. He feels sales tax revenue should go to San Francisco instead of Colma. He was surprised to see the crowd’s support of the project given that “all you hear in the media” is that San Francisco is “anti-chain.”

11. A woman reminded us all that San Francisco is a “transit first city,” so she asked whether toilet paper come in something less than a 36 pack. The answer is that 12-packs would be available in light of special circumstances of San Francisco shoppers.

12. A younger fellow asked T to post hearing dates on a website so that pro-Target residents could “pack the hearings.” (Two known area NIMBYs reacted in disgust, kind of smirking at each other.)

13.  Another person worried about the increase in traffic exiting on O’Farrell and also about the closeness of Trader Joes. Thom Lasley assured all that the food sold at the two stores would complement each other. TJ’s would continue to have higher end stuff while T would focus on “staples.”

You get the idea. It went on and on.

Now, let’s hear from the pols. Hardworking Richmond District Supervisor Eric Mar et filia Jade took a bunch of notes but then had to leave for another appointment:

District 5 Supe Ross Mirkarimi came to express his concerns over traffic on Masonic, local hiring, and the Geary B.R.T.

He’s seen here with property-owning KLA Geary L.L.C. representative Adam Miller, Target Communcations Manager Sarah Bakken, and Tar-chitect Thom Lasley:

Speaking of pols, aforementioned District 2 candidate Kat Anderson was a fireball of energy, typing up a mess of notes on her MacBook and graciously forwarding them to me:

Here’s just part of her shorthand:

“Target started in 1962 but grew out of Dayton Hudson (1946 policy instituted to give 5% back to the communities of our stores, which is $3 million per week).  Within the Bay Area last year, community giving was almost $ 1 mill in SF and $3 mill in the Bay Area.   (ie, last week:  Arts and Wonder.  Nonprofits going back to 1991 inc. SF Aids Foundation, Asian Art, de Young, Take Charge of Education, support to 85 schools in SF; even tho’ we don’t have a store in SF, we know that many of our guests live in SF.”

Kat typified the crowd, supporting the proposal but also expressing concern about specific issues.

Now, who else was there – how about Bill Barnes, aide to District 2 Supervisor Michela Alioto Pier, and Alex Tourk, Founder of Ground Floor Public Affairs?

The whole thing went on and on until after 8:00 PM.

(People, obviously Target’s going to do traffic studies, right? So why not give them a chance to do that, right? Obviously, there will be some sort of local-hiring program imposed by the City, the same way that was done with our Costco in the SoMA. I mean, that’s baked into the cake already, right? And people, Target won’t need to have Trader Joe’s-style parking attendants because Target will have ample parking, capiche? And if you Fix Masonic people want to take out a bunch of parking spaces on Masonic to put in proper bike lanes, well, be my guest and go for it. But it’s not Target’s job to take an expensive ride on your hobby horse, right? In the meantime, just pilot your bikes onto the needlessly-wide sidewalks of the hilly parts of Masonic, as I do, depending on conditions.)

So let’s see here, as Santa Barbara goes, so goes San Francisco? Probably not.

We’ll get our Targets, finally, eventually.

Expect More, Pay Less(TM), baby. Leave Us Begin living in the red.

Bon courage, Target. Excelsior.

*Ah, a response from a The Square person, who draws attention to this “news story” link. Fair enough. Be sure to let them know if you think their bit is biased – they’re looking for feedback. And they want to know from me if I think they’re “disconnected” from the community. I don’t know, based on their editorial (linked to above), sure, they’re disconnected from the people that showed up to the meeting, anyway.

All right let’s see here, I tell you I don’t know what “parts of the Western Addition” means, actually, the whole shebang betwixt Larkin in the Tenderloin and Divisidero out west is the Western Addition, right? Check your real estate papers filed with the City and County – they’ll say “WESTERN ADDITION,” srsly.

All right, what else, apparently, I’m going to need to “research thoroughly” any comments I make online about The Square. All right, I’ll have to show my work then, uh, Canon 7D “premium” camera ownership + Canon 24-105mm IS + Apple PC + elitist attitude + strong NIMBY tendencies + poorly argued editorial + lives in the Western Addition but doesn’t know it + strongly attached to real estate industry microneighborhood marketing names = rich yuppie, somewhat disconnected from the regular people of the Western A. Is that a personal attack? I don’t know. A lot of people the world over would love to trade places, I’m sure.

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11 Responses to “San Francisco Hearts TARGET – NIMBYs Thwarted at Abandoned Mervyns on Masonic Last Night”

  1. Ramón says:

    I may be alone in this, but I find it bizarre that so many people seem to be so stoked about a retail store. I’m not saying don’t allow it, but it’s the exuberance that seems odd.

  2. sfcitizen says:

    I feel you, but there were a lot of moms in the crowd, it appeared. Some people really like shopping…

    There are people who load up and to travel to neighboring counties every weekend just for a shopping lifestyle. A San Francisco Target would save them hours and hours each month.

    The NIMBYs on hand were quiet, for whatever reason. There’ll be other chances, other forums where they’ll be more likely to have the upper hand.

    And obviously, there’s selection bias here.

  3. BT says:

    It’s not a question of being stoked about the store but of being stoked about saving money (which most of us, not counting all SF Nimbys, perhaps) need.

    Target simply sells basic necessities, from toilet paper to cat food, cheaper, and its presence will not only provide us a shot at those lower prices but will put pressure on other local retailers to match them (which is why they are so opposed to most chain stores).

    Contrary to popular myth, not all San Franciscans are trust fund babies and other who shop mostly at Bloomingdales and Whole Foods.

  4. Joe says:

    There are virtually no large scale value retailers in SF but there are tons of people who shop there. Why is it so hard to imagine why people are thrilled that they wont have to go all the way to colma to do their shopping?
    I’m thrilled that I might have a place to purchase non artisan toilet paper and non organic locally sustainable socks in SF and without a car!
    Maybe we arent the Twee-est place on earth after all.

  5. Mike says:

    In response to Ramón ( with that little thing over the o ). So shopping is beneath you? Is shopping reserved for the mundane, less fantastic suburbanites who don’t have the pleasure or sophistication of being a San Franciscan?

    I’d rather go shopping at Target than hang out with a pretentious douche’ bag.

  6. daniel yerkich says:

    i don’t know if target needs san franciscans to sign a petition or if the decision is up to city hall alone. i’m for it and i think the wind turbines are brilliant. that hill is windy 24/7!!! all the buildings in that area should have them! imagine the amount of energy that could be created with turbines.

  7. Charly says:

    Uh…if you want to buy crap from Target then move to Colma.
    Why do we want to have a stupid suburban experience in our beautiful city.
    I guess everyone can’t wait to get on the next episode of Hoarders.

  8. Beth says:

    In response to Charly: I’m from the East Coast and normal cities (even New York) have Targets IN city limits. Philadelphia has 3; one for each side of Philly (NE, South and West Philly). True – two of these stores are new within the last 5-10 years, but it still happened.

    A true city, to most people, is a place that you can get everything within that area and not have to drive out of those limits to get to (and it’d be nice if this was at a reasonable price). Otherwise – you would live in the suburbs.

    In another response to to those wanting to keep SF away from chain stores.. realize you live in a city that has a Starbucks on every corner. You don’t get any more away from the “mom and pop” image than that… just sayin’.

  9. G says:

    Will everyone take a deep breath and calm down?

    If you don’t shop at Target, don’t shop at Target.

    If you do, then do so.

    this is not the kind of issue you should get worked up about.

    Instead, call your local rep about bloated government and the state of SF’s pension liabilities.

    Call Sacramento and demand real tort reform so people don’t have to walk around scared to death of lawsuits.

    C’mon people.

    We can do so much more with our precious time and votes.

  10. colinM says:

    I think it’s important to remember that this location was a Sears store for DECADES.
    I believe Sears is a chain generally associated with suburbia. The city of San Francisco managed to survive, despite the presence of a Sears store, for all those years. I think we’ll manage to hang in there with the Target store hovering above Geary. We might even outlast it!

  11. Anthony John says:

    Stop Target from opening in SF unless they rectify the $150,000 brouhaha regarding a political donation to an anti-gay candidate.

    When are the next hearings?