Santa Monica’s first Target may not look much like a Target.
The downtown location scheduled to open in 2020 will occupy 24,000 square feet of space in a one-story building at 5th Street and Broadway. Local officials say Santa Monica is long overdue for a Target but are concerned the building will be visually lacking and overbranded. The Architectural Review Board asked the company Monday to redesign the project.
“Having a Target is great for the downtown area but it needs a lot of work,” said vice chair Patrick Tighe.
The store would be Target’s first foray into Santa Monica, although the company tried to open a large store at the corner of Santa Monica and 5th in 2001. That effort was abandoned in the face of heavy community opposition. Target has since opened stores nearby in Sawtelle, Culver City and Westwood.
Target’s proposed reboot of the building that retailer Fred Segal vacated in March 2016 involves painting the concrete block and stucco facade white and red, wrapping parts of the exterior in brown concrete panels and installing aluminum windows and doors. The design also includes six Target logos in various sizes and two signs with the company’s name.
Michael Wekesser, senior design architect at Target, said the company is launching similar small-format stores in urban areas and universities around the country. The store is not required to provide parking because of its proximity to the Expo Line and bus routes.
“We are very excited about coming to Santa Monica,” he said. “This is a little jewel to us.”
While board members were also excited about the company’s first location in the city, they said the design of the building needed to change.
“This could be a jewel of a building,” Tighe said. “I don’t think it’s a jewel right now.”
Board member Barbara Kaplan said she liked the white logos on the brown panels at the corners of the building but not the larger logos on the red concrete blocks.
“I’m always for minimalist branding,” she said. “We know what Target is. Maybe one logo would be enough.”
Tighe said he wants to see higher-quality materials used in the facade and a more comprehensive lighting and landscaping plan.
“The materials are underwhelming and ways they come together and the detailing doesn’t work right now,” he said. “The cement looks like stucco and it could be a really beautiful material instead of looking like a cheap material.”
The high aesthetic value of hobos lying around dwarfs anything she is proposing.
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