Last month, Target Corp. announced it would open its first small, urban format store in Seattle in 2012. According to Chainstoreage.com, Target hopes to open at least 10 additional markets in the coming years.
Today, Walmart announced plans to also do small and mid-sized stores. I sense a trend, and one that could be positive for Milwaukee.
Bottom line, I want a Target in Downtown Milwaukee.
Target has looked at Downtown Milwaukee and has representation here. I mentioned this in 2008.
For several reasons, Downtown Milwaukee, I think, is appealing for Target:
- Colleges/university audiences
- Access to 85,000+ daily workers
- Unique opportunity to do something different
- Large, available land footprints (at least larger than most downtowns)
- A growing residential base that's larger than many smaller suburbs
I could go on and on, but this is a short blog.
I want a Target in my neighborhood, and I hope someone is listening.
I like the idea of a downtown Target, but I just don't think that there is enough foot traffic to make it go.
Hckyboy00 has some good ideas, save the Silk idea. I travel for work quite a bit and can tell you that the mere presence of a strip club turns many business travelers off...at least in terms of where they stay. Strip clubs tend to be destinations--you find them if you want them, they don't need to be proximal.
I rode the MCTS many times as a kid and during college, but I really feel strongly that having Wisconsin Avenue be a major bus track is counterproductive. No convention attendee is going to hop on the bus to get anywhere, and having the buses dominate the traffic in the area is more than a nuisance for both drivers and pedestrians.
I don't think McDonalds will build a new place with a drive-thru anymore. There's a big 2-level Target in Minneapolis, right in the middle of downtown, with no parking at all. I would think Target in the Grand Ave would be just like that.
Depending on what you consider the starting point, Miller Park Way and Chase and Oklahoma are probably roughly the same distance. In a downtown Target, it would be multiple stories, 2 or 3, split up similar to a department store. Have cart escalators like IKEA or Whole Foods, and it would work out wonderfully.
To Milwaukee residents, used to being able to get anywhere in 15 minutes (traffic is so consistently light that we often refer to travel speed in time, not distance) It is not a terrible drive to go to the closet Target, but if it saved me 45 minutes to an hour in travel time to take a 5 minute trip downtown, or god forbid use my bike to go shopping, a downtown option would be the only place i would go.
The reason Targets and Walmarts are successful is BECAUSE they are BIG. I feel any excitement over a "scaled down" Target at the Grand Avenue would quickly wane, and patrons would soon grow weary of the smaller selection. I agree that it would be like a Walgreens. In fact, I will be the first to nickname a downtown Target "Walred's"
Also, how close do you need Target to be? You don't have to drive to the Sprawlburbs to go to Target anymore, there's a full sized one just south of Miller Park. I'm pretty sure that Target is the closest BigBox retailer to downtown.
Ten Steps for a better downtown (not in any particular order)
1) Open SIlk East at old Martini Mikes space on 3rd.
2) Give Walgreens a facade grant and allow them to stay open 24 hours
3) Build a street level themed McDonalds on Wisconsin, 24 hours, no drive thru, at the old Pure nightclub space.
4) Build the Grand Theater out to Wells Street, open it with 6-8 mainstream movie screens
5) Build a mid-size Target with two-three levels of underground parking at the Surface lot on 4th and Wisconsin.
6) Remove airbrush, and cell phone accessory kiosk vendors from Grand Ave, place a loitering policy and staff similar to Mayfair, and stay open for normal business hours.
7) Back a Dave & Busters, or ESPN Zone with street entrance and signage on east end of Grand Ave Mall, include a bowling alley in the basemetn in Plankinton Arcade.
8) Make parking at the mall free for the first 3 hours, move monthly parking to other lots.
9) Remove jewelers from Grand Ave that buy more gold then they sell, including 'gold by the foot' vendors.
10) Find retailers that are geared towards college. condo/third ward residents. A mixture of Outlet (Gap, A&F, Nike) and boutique, (Williams & Sonoma, Victoria's Secret, etc)
Don't make it a surburban destination, suburbanites will always complain about 'i can get it at mayfair' and 'i don't want to pay for parking'. Give the people downtown a place to go, so they aren't running out to Tosa/Whitefish Bay/Greendale to do their shopping, keep the tax dollar sin the city, get jobs into the city, and chances are you'll even see some reduction in traffic, as people stay behind to shop after work, since things will be open after 5pm. Convention season has hotels packed, give them a place to go instead of staying in their hotel rooms all night. Bowling, a movie, Target for toiletries, etc. Do you know the money Silk would bring in with a all male revue during the Lia Sophia convention? But we need a Downtown BID who doesn't want Christian bookstores on every corner, or has a pipe dream that Alterra and Diablo Rojas will become Johnny V in it's giganticness and will fill downtown with their locations. Give people somewhere to go downtown, and they will spend money.
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