Target chooses site for its first small-format store in Indiana

Target Corp. has chosen a location near the Purdue University campus in West Lafayette for its first small-format store in Indiana, the retailer announced Thursday.

A lease has been signed for a ground-floor location at State Street and Northwestern Avenue in an existing building developed by South Street Capital. Pending city council approval, buildout could begin this year, with an opening by fall 2019.

At just under 11,800 square feet, the store will be less than a 10th of the size of a traditional Target store, which are typically about 130,000 square feet.

Target began opening “urban-geared” locations of non-traditional sizes in 2012 and opened its first small-format store near a college campus in 2014. The retailer really picked up the pace of small-format openings last year as part of its ongoing strategy to improve brick-and-mortar sales and better compete with online retailing giant Amazon.

Target said it plans to open more than 130 small-format stores by 2019, including 30 in 2018. The stores range up to 80,000 square feet and feature a  merchandise mix appropriate for the location. The “curated” selection of products near Purdue will include grab-and-go food and beverages, personal-care items and “dorm and apartment essentials.”

A Target spokeswoman declined to say whether any other stores were in the works for Indiana, which is home to 31 Target stores. There has been speculation (and wishful thinking from downtown residents) that a Target store would take over some of the space that's set to be vacated by Carson’s in Circle Centre mall.

A majority of “downtown stakeholders” polled by booster group Downtown Indy in 2016 indicated they want a Target store, when asked in a survey what they would most like to see downtown, said Sherry Seiwert, Downtown Indy’s executive director.

Carson’s, which is winding down a going-out-of-business sale, occupies 145,000 square feet over three floors.

Real estate observers say Target also could land downtown at the southwest corner of North Delaware and East New York streets that’s currently a parking lot for Regions Tower.

“We’re continuously exploring possible locations for future stores, and we’re focused on adding small-format stores to dense urban and suburban neighborhoods and on college campuses,” Target spokeswoman Jacqueline DeBuse said in an email.  “At this time, we have no news to share about other Indiana sites, including downtown Indianapolis.”

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