Target announced a plan to expand its San Francisco Bay Area presence with three new mini-stores opening in 2015, reports the San Francisco Business Times. There’s no word yet on where the retail giant will open these TargetExpress stores — which are about one-sixth the size of a traditional Target — but if it’s anywhere in San Francisco proper, it’s sure to piss off local merchants.

The first TargetExpress opened this week in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota and, as the Business Journal there reports, it sounds like a larger, slicker version of a corner store. Tailored to urban shoppers, the mini-Target sells produce, grab-and-go meals and snacks, home basics, electronics, and pharmacy and beauty products. SFist called the Minnesota TargetExpress, which confirmed that they sell a wide variety of beer, but no wine.

TargetExpress is 20,000 square feet as opposed to CityTargets, which are roughly 80,000 square feet. San Francisco is currently home to two CityTargets, one at 789 Mission Street and 2675 Geary Boulevard.

If the proposed TargetExpress stores are in S.F., they will need approval from the Planning Commission because they’re considered “formula retail,” which is completely banned in a few neighborhoods and strongly opposed in many others.

As SFist previously reported, if a store already has 11 locations in the United States, it is considered formula retail. We already know that these TargetExpress stores cannot open in Hayes Valley, the Chinatown tourist corridor, and North Beach, which ban chains outright. Downtown and Union Square, Stonestown, and Potrero Center all permit formula retail. In other neighborhoods, the Planning Commission considers every formula retailer on a case-by-case basis and it can be rejected if there are already other chains in the area.

Developers who want to incorporate formula retail into their projects have complained that the current restrictions are complicated and confusing. Planning's Legislative Affairs manager, AnMarie Rodgers, told SFist last June that it was working on new citywide rules, and city leaders have been trying to come up with more succinct citywide policies.

This month, as the San Francisco Business Times reports, the Planning Commission voted to change the definition of formula retail to businesses with more than 19 locations, which, either way, would not apply to the TargetExpress stores. The commission’s vote is only a suggestion to the Board of Supervisors, which is looking at opposing legislation from Supervisor Eric Mar. Mar wants to keep the current 11 locations rule in place. The Board of Supervisors’ Land Use Committee will consider both proposals in September, according to Mission Local.

As Mar told the Institute for Local Self-Reliance in 2012: “San Francisco is perceived to be a tough place for big businesses and corporate formula retail chains. The facts don’t bear this out. We continue to hear from neighborhood merchants and residents that they feel the city is being steadily overrun by chain stores.”

SFist reached out to Mar for comment about the new TargetExpress stores.

[San Francisco Business Times]

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