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Uptown in the News  

June 13, 2007
Holsten: Target is coming to Wilson Yard
Announcement still not official
By (Lorraine Swanson)

Developer Peter Holsten went on record that a Target store is coming to Wilson Yard despite no official announcement from the retail giant.

In a June 6 meeting of the Wilson Yard Task Force at Truman College, Holsten, the lead developer for the former, five-acre CTA rail yard, insisted that his firm, the Chicago-based Holsten, had passed all of the Target Corporation’s financial boards and had a signed contract in hand.

“Target wants to open in mid-2009,” Holsten said.

Wilson Yard, bounded by Broadway and the CTA tracts on the east and west, and Wilson and Montrose Avenues on the north and south, became a political battleground during the recent 46th Ward aldermanic race. Some Uptown residents have criticized Holsten and Alderman Helen Shiller, 46th, for what they claim has been a lack of transparency in the mixed-use development’s planning process.

The redevelopment plans include an 180,000-square-foot Target store, f178 units of affordable housing and a 700-car parking garage, with 30,000 additional square feet for retail, offices and restaurants. A new Aldi’s that replaced an existing store at 4450 N. Broadway, opened in May at Wilson yard, almost six months past its projected opening of December 2006.

Last month, the City Council approved increasing Wilson yard’s TIF subsidy from $35.6 million to $43.1 million, stipulating that construction begin on the Target and residential units no later than July. Holsten attributed the increase to a 15 percent rise in construction costs and materials.

Holsten told task force members and a handful of residents attending the mid-morning meeting that toxic soil removal had already begun on the site. Demolition of the old Aldi’s and the Azusa Building will start in July.

Wary after the pullout of a 12-screen movie theater in 2005, residents have questioned whether Target has truly committed to anchoring the Wilson Yard complex of stores, offices and apartments. Uptown resident Dustin Fogel, who took a day off from work to attend the task force meeting which are typically held during business hours, asked why there has been no official announcement.

Repeated calls to Target’s media relations department were not returned.

“When the Target on Peterson opened there were signs up well in advance of its coming,” Fogel said.

“Also, (residents) have contacted Target and asked if they had any new stores planned in the Chicago area and the Wilson Yard Target was not mentioned,” Fogel added.

Holsten described Target’s policies on announcing new stores “odd”.

“We asked to put an announcement in the newspaper. It’s bizarre,” Holsten said.

Shiller backed Holsten, who reiterated that his firm did indeed have a contract. “Do you think he’d go forward if Target wasn’t on board?” Shiller asked.

Holsten said that once construction is underway, a rendering of the proposed Target would be posted at the construction site.

“(Target’s) policies on this side are absurd. We’ll put up a rendering and to hell with them,” Holsten said.

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