Target to put a bull's-eye on Westwood
Westwood's old EXPO building on Weyburn and Glendon is the proposed site of what would be the smallest Target in the nation. Photos by Alison Hewitt.
Target's not ready to talk about it yet, but the news is out: Target plans to come to Westwood.
Final details like permits to install the store's iconic bull's-eye signs have made their way through local planning committees, and Target plans to take over the former EXPO Design Center at Weyburn and Glendon avenues, across from Trader Joe's. A timeline to completion has not been publicly released, but a spokeswoman said the company expects it to take more than a year.
"Unfortunately, we are unable to share specifics at this time beyond what has been filed publicly," said Target spokeswoman Jenna Reck in response to inquiries. "Typically, we can confirm plans for a new store within one year of the scheduled opening."
The planned Target would be across the street from Rite-Aid (left) and Trader Joe's (right).
However, Target has received approvals from the Westwood Community Design Review Board and the West Los Angeles Area Planning Commission to move forward. Vincent Wong, the assistant director of UCLA's Government and Community Relations Office, has followed Target's progress through the city’s approval process.
"The process is pretty far along," Wong said. "They've passed through many steps in city planning and are close to completion."
Target's changes to the building will include new signage, new storefront entrances and new bike racks along Weyburn Avenue, according to a city planning report. Target will next need to obtain building permits, said Kevin D. Jones, the hearing officer at the Area Planning Commission meeting.
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 Ralph's Grocery Store, Best Buy, and, at the top level, the new UCLA Westwood Child Care Center operated by Bright Horizons Family Solutions. Although the building is large, Target's portion of 93,000 square feet would make it the smallest Target store in the nation, Wong said.
The Westwood business community has been eager to bring Target to Westwood, said Clinton Schudy, who holds business seats on the Westwood Neighborhood Council and the Westwood Community Council. Schudy owns the village's oldest business, Oakley's Barbershop.
A view of the Westwood building that Target plans to move into. Ralphs and Best Buy occupy retail space in the same building.
"Most people aren't going to spend money to park in the village if there's not enough to do, and Target will definitely be a big pull to get people to spend time here," Schudy said. "My understanding is, since the space is not as big as a normal Target, they'll cut out the departments that would overlap with existing Westwood businesses, like the grocery or the bike shop, so they can focus on options like clothing, home décor, bedding, things like that."
He's heard about UCLA students' annual pilgrimage to the Culver City Target, an official part of Welcome Week, when they are bused over to make last-minute back-to-school purchases. "It would be nice if they could have that event in the village," Schudy said.
Ever the chatty barber, Schudy talks to his clients about the Target, too, including lots of Bruins. "All my clients have been really excited about this. I hear nothing but positive things."
A Target can serve the UCLA community at lunch, for short errands, and purchases big and small, wrote local businessman and Westwood Community Council chair Steven Sann in an e-mail encouraging locals to support the store's progress.
"Target will be a wonderful addition … a 'game-changing' tenant," Sann wrote. The store will fill the gaps in Westwood's retail offerings, return evening foot traffic to the neighborhood, create jobs, and complement the adjoining Ralphs and Best Buy to make Westwood a place that can meet everyday shopping needs, he added.
"We understand that this will not be a 'Super' Target and will not have a grocery store inside [because of Ralphs] … and presumably this Target in Westwood will not have a large electronics department [because of Best Buy]. That still leaves a huge amount of merchandise for Target to offer," Sann said.