BY PAMELA AVILA
GLASSELL PARK — A lease has been signed to open a new “flexible-format” Target store in the former Fresh & Easy market on Eagle Rock Boulevard despite some neighborhood opposition and a petition signed by over 300 residents.
The news of a freshly signed lease surprised the folks who attended the community meeting hosted by the Glassell Park Improvement Assn, whose board members appeared blindsided by the agreement. Many said they would have preferred a full-fledged grocery store at the location and were perplexed by the fact that the new store would operate near existing Targets at Eagle Rock Plaza and the Glendale Galleria.
“Why do you think we need another Target when the community so desperately needs a bonafide grocery store?” asked Gail Salmo, who has lived in Glassell Park for 13 years.
The meeting was held about a month after The Eastsider reported that the discount store giant was looking into opening a store at the site. Target representative and Senior Development Manager John Dewes said the discount chain’s “flexible-format” stores, which range from 15,000 to 50,000 square-feet in size, won’t carry as many items as a typical store so it can focus on “essentials.” A floor plan displayed at the meeting showed a grocery and apparel section as well as a pharmacy and a Starbucks cafe. They’re “really crafted for the community,” he said.
The Target would fill the space left vacant since late 2015 when Fresh & Easy ceased operations. But despite talk of having plenty of aisles dedicated to solely groceries in the new Target, many residents were not won over.
“Is this a final venture? Has it been approved by the city?” asked Gail Salmo, a Glassell Park resident of 13 years. Dewes answered that although a lease has been signed, they were currently “undergoing approvals by the city.”
Residents were mainly concerned about the need for a grocery store in the neighborhood and traffic and safety issues that could result in congestion near schools,and York Boulevard during rush hour.
Dewes did not release a date of a grand opening of the new flexible-format Target. Dewes also welcomed an open discussion with the community about concerns they might have “once the store is up and running.
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Pamela Avila is a Los Angeles-based journalist, with a B.A. in English Literature from UC Santa Cruz. You can read more of her published work here.
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