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Target coming to Westfield mall?

Westfield Santa Anita has its sights set on a Target store for Arcadia.

Two-story Target store in Pasadena

No official application has been filed but city officials say the mall operator has provided preliminary plans for the potential addition of a two-story Target store on the southeast end of the mall between the former Robinsons-May store and Macy’s. A multi-level parking garage, perhaps as tall as four or five levels and possibly extending onto the roof of Target, would be part of the project that would encompass the area presently occupied by a mini stand-alone two-level parking structure.

Although the long-closed Robinsons-May is a large two-story structure that has long been vacant, apparently it isn’t suitable for Target, so Westfield is said to be considering filling that building with other retailers. Westfield Santa Anita is not commenting specifically relative to any talk about plans to add Target, which the company characterizes as “market rumors and speculation.” But General Manager David Burke said the corporation’s statement in general is, “Target is a great operator and would be a welcome addition to our center.”

Any such expansion of that magnitude would require an environmental impact report (EIR) and City approval. The EIR would likely be rigorous and time-consuming since Westfield is embroiled in a long-running lawsuit against the City for its unanimous approval in April 2007 of Caruso Affiliated’s proposed Shops at Santa Anita on the adjacent property to the east on the parking lot of Santa Anita Park. Westfield’s lawsuit challenged hundreds of issues with the EIR related to that project, including how to mitigate an influx of traffic, which would certainly be an issue with a new Target store. Westfield was not required to do an EIR when it opened the upscale outdoor Promenade expansion a couple years ago. But Caruso sued the City in 2009 when the Council approved Westfield’s application to add more restaurants to the Promenade without requiring the mall operator to do an EIR. Westfield quickly withdrew its application and Caruso withdrew that lawsuit.

But even more daunting than an EIR may be getting approval from the Council who are increasingly frustrated by the ongoing appeals and legal challenges to the lawsuit that has dragged it on at great expense and repurcussions for many parties involved. In an indicator of how close to the surface ill feelings are still simmering 3 1/2-years later, during a special study session at City Hall this morning (Wednesday, Oct. 27) to consider the final draft of the 25-year General Plan for Arcadia that had been recommended for approval last night by the Planning Commission, Councilman Mickey Segal, a strong proponent of the Shops at Santa Anita, raised eyebrows when he asked if the General Plan could incorporate restrictions specifically targeted at Westfield. “We know what they want; is there any way we can make that more difficult for them?”

The answer was no, but the sentiment was clear.

(Click on one of three options in poll at right side of this page to share your opinion about a Target store coming to Westfield Santa Anita.)

— By Scott Hettrick


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