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Misc

Is the Loop a food desert? Target aiming at Carson’s site

BY KARA SPAK AND MARY WISNIEWSKI Staff Reporters
Posted:  01/18/2010 4:00 AMTarget Corp. may be focusing its trademark bull’s-eye on a distinctive piece of Chicago property — the former Carson Pirie Scott & Co. building on State Street.The popular discount chain is in lease discussions with Joseph Freed & Associates LLC, the firm that owns the building, said Jayne Thompson, Freed spokeswoman.

“Freed is talking to a number of retailers about the Carson location, and they [Target] are one of them,” Thompson said Saturday.

She declined to name the other interested parties. Freed is als0 the developer of the Block 37 property in the Loop, which is in foreclosure.

If Target opened in the former Carson space, now called Sullivan Center, its store would include a grocery section, Thompson said.

The former home of Carson Pirie Scott & Co., 1 S. State, was designed by famed architect Louis Sullivan more than 110 years ago. It housed the company’s flagship department store for 102 years.

Bon-Ton, owner of Carson Pirie Scott, announced in August 2006 it was closing the State Street store because of lagging sales and high operating costs. The store closed in February 2007.

The entire building includes about 1 million square feet, though Carson’s used only about 600,000 square feet of that for retail.

After Bon-Ton announced it was closing the Carson store, Freed officials were hopeful of quickly filling the retail space.

One company official told the Chicago Sun-Times in 2006 he hoped to have retailing open for the 2007 Christmas shopping season.

That never materialized.

Currently, offices occupy several of the building’s floors. Stir-fry restaurant Flat Top Grill is the building’s lone retail tenant, occupying 5,400 square feet at 30 S. Wabash.

Several rumored tenants for the space — including Whole Foods, now-defunct clothing chain Steve & Barry’s and Canyon Ranch resorts — never materialized.

Officials at Roundy’s Supermarkets, a Milwaukee-based grocery chain, also expressed interest in the space but never inked a deal.

Freed announced in 2008 that upscale grocer Fox & Obel would open a 25,000-square-foot store in the building, but that fell through, too. Australian surf shop Billabong International also dropped plans to open a three-level store in the building.

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A visual journalist living in Chicago.

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