Young Electric Sign Co. had a 60-year presence on Salt Lake City's 300 West. As of next October, it will be Target's turn to take over the space and begin competing against Walmart, Lowe's and two membership wholesalers farther south.
Target is building a 128,000-square-foot, big-box store in the 1100 South block on property that served as headquarters for YESCO since 1949.
It will be what the retailer calls a "general-merchandise" store -- not a Super Target -- but "as of today, this location will have an expanded food format that includes groceries," said spokesman Kyle Thompson. But the grocery part, he emphasized, is "subject to change."
Projected opening is October 2010.
The store, along with other smaller retail outlets, will be built on 11 acres and could employ up to 250 people, Thompson said.
The announcement drew cheers from Salt Lake City resident Steve Jones, who lives in the area around 900 East and 1400 South.
"It's a nice shopping alternative," he said. "7200 South [where he now shops at Target] is a long way to drive. I can shoot down 1300 South, and I'm right there."
The YESCO parcel at 1178 S. 300 West totaled 7.5 acres, according to the sign company's division manager, Jeff Young.
The balance of the 11 acres, Young said, comes from buying out three adjacent property owners -- Crankshaft Grind and Metalizing Co. at 1124 S. 300 West; Swirl Woodcraft, 1104 S. 300 West; and Semi Services, 1082 S. 300 West.
The project positions Target as a direct competitor to other big-box retailers along the corridor. Walmart is two blocks to the south; Costco and Sam's Club are approximately five blocks in that direction.
"We feel that adding this general-merchandise location to the Salt Lake City area will ... provide another great shopping destination, in addition to our current locations, for our guests," said Thompson in an e-mail message.
Tom Cook, a retail specialist with Commerce Real Estate in Salt Lake City, agrees that Target has the potential to do well at that location. But he's concerned about smaller businesses that leasing agents hope to attract.
"With the economy and where it's located, outside of a residential neighborhood, it makes it challenging to lease up the small-shop spaces and mid-boxes," said Cook, whose company has been asked to find smaller retailers to lease the space adjacent to Target.
Those smaller stores may cater to workers in the area during the day, but when they go home at 5 p.m., the only businesses still drawing customers are the big boxes, he said.
"If somebody is going to go to a Target or a Walmart, they are not going to go just to buy milk. They are going to load up on groceries. Are they going to leave them in the car to get a bite to eat, go to Fedex, Kinko's or a Verizon store? No. They are going to do that kind of ancillary shopping in the neighborhood where they live."
Cook points to the small-retail development directly south of Costco on 300 West, where half the new space has been vacant the past six months to a year.
The property around the new Target is being developed by Englewood, Colo.-based Miller Weingarten Realty. It's leasing official, Dean Insalaco, could not be reached for comment.
» Harmons said Monday it will break ground on two stores in 2010.
» One of the 68,015-square-foot locations will anchor the Station Park project in Farmington, while the other will be part of the retail makeup of City Creek Center in downtown Salt Lake City.
» The Farmington store could serve to jump-start stalled Station Park, a 1 million-square-foot shopping and office center development at I-15 and Legacy Highway.
» The downtown Salt Lake City store on 100 South between State Street and 200 East will serve residents and customers of the LDS Church's billion-dollar City Creek mall and condo project.
There are 11 Target stores in the state, with five in the Salt Lake City area. Of the five, two are Super Targets, which sell a full complement of merchandise and groceries.