Target eyes Cabrini-Green for new store

By Sandra M. Jones
Posted March 28 at 5:19 p.m.

Target Corp., the cheap-chic discount chain, is in talks with the Chicago Housing Authority to build a store at the site of the former Cabrini-Green Housing Project.

The retailer’s proposal was brought up for consideration at a CHA board of commissioners meeting earlier this month, said Matt Aguilar, CHA spokesman. “We are in discussions and hope to help bring additional investment to the neighborhood,” Aguilar said.

Demolition of the last high rise at Cabrini-Green is scheduled to begin on Wednesday. The seven-acre complex, once among the most notorious housing projects in the nation, is just blocks away from Chicago’s glitziest shopping districts on North Michigan Avenue and close to the wealthy enclaves of the Gold Coast and Lincoln Park.

Target declined to comment on the proposal.

“Target typically does not confirm plans for new stores more than one year prior to the scheduled opening,” said Molly Snyder, a spokeswoman for Minneapolis-based Target, in an email.

In February, Target announced long-anticipated plans to open a store in the Loop next year. The store, called City Target, will lease space in the Sullivan Center at 1 S. State St., which has been empty since Carson Pirie Scott closed its flagship department store in 2007.

The Cabrini-Green proposal was first reported by Skyline, a publication that covers Lincoln Park and the Gold Coast.

The agreement involves a land exchange in which Target would acquire Cabrini-Green land from the CHA in exchange for giving the CHA land elsewhere in the city, said Ald. Walter Burnett Jr., 27th. If a land agreement is reached, the proposal would then go in front of the city’s planning officials and be discussed at community hearings.

“I’ll take a Target anywhere in my ward,” said Burnett. “We need some economic development because the economy is bad. There’s nothing happening. This means potential construction jobs and potential permanent jobs.”

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  1. jack (me) March 28 at 9:06 a.m.

    I’m sure that the real reason that Cabrini Green was demolished was to provide cheap land to Target. Guess what would have happened if Walmart asked for that land.

    In the meantime, nothing is said about replacement housing. I guess just give them Section 8 vouchers and tell them to move to Evanston or Blue Island.

  2. jw March 28 at 9:12 a.m.

    Awesome! can’t wait for the last of those horrible buildings to be gone and see the Target rise, with economy starting to pick up I think we will see development begin moving right along and as far as replacement housing and section 8 go, the public housing needs to be privitized and not supported by tax payer money. Section 8 needs to be done away with altogether except for the elderly and mentally and physically disabled. The rest of the live time freeloaders need to get off their lazy buts and work live the rest of us, the freeloading welfare state needs to end in this country.

  3. spudart March 28 at 9:57 a.m.

    I go to church two blocks south of this proposed site. I would be extremely happy to have a Target filling that empty lot.

  4. JoeyB March 28 at 10:06 a.m.

    Time to start planning for a Brown Line Station at Division, don’t you think?

  5. George March 28 at 10:07 a.m.

    Good idea. This how to get rid of public housing and Section 8. Businesses, health facilities, and housing for the disable/seniors/low income workers. As a matter a fact, this would be also a better location for Walmart instead of the one on Diversity and Surf. Is Roundy’s grocery store still coming to the area?

    Better yet, I would like to see the state end last Cabrini-Green tenant welfare checks and make her work at Target. You know, the one that was in the media because she refused to move out of the worn out building.

  6. Chris March 28 at 11:21 a.m.

    I pray for the day that all the hoodlums and bangers that hang around the street corners around there are shipped off to some island somewhere never to be seen again. I also pray for the day where social programs are no longer eligible for those who do not contribute to society. What a fine day it will be to know that my tax dollars are not paying for some thug to load up on Cheetos before he heads out for a long night of loitering around and violent crime. I will keep dreaming and hope that one of these scenarios will pan out in my lifetime.

  7. Seth March 28 at 11:24 a.m.

    I hope they design the store and grounds in a pedestrian-friendly manner. The design should accommodate both cars and pedestrians. They should not do it suburban style where pedestrians have to negotiate a busy parking lot to get to the entrance set back far from the street.

    A target here would be great.

  8. LAB March 28 at 11:26 a.m.

    Put enough retail there and make all of the former tenants work at those jobs. I realize that it’s tough to make it having to pay a share of one’s wages for health insurance, but those with jobs are doing it every day. These people can learn how to manage the money they EARN instead of squander the money they get handed on a silver plate. Low cost housing for those in real need should always be available, but 5 and 6 generations deep living in the squalor that they create and then complaining about it, not even cleaning up after themselves, and the crime they spawn amongst themselves that spills into the rest of the community, that just has to go. Oh, you wouldn’t need so much “Section 8 housing” if there were a requirement to be sterilized after one child. More children may equal a bigger paycheck, but the problems that go with that are greater than the paycheck could ever have been worth.

  9. Tom Callahan March 28 at 11:32 a.m.

    Take away social programs for the incompetent and unable to hold a job and watch crime soar. I don’t mind giving you crappy public housing as long as you promise not to rob, rape or murder me. Some people just can’t hold jobs. Would you hire and retain an iliterate, lazy worker? Who would?

  10. Aaron Stroud March 28 at 11:45 a.m.

    More children DOES NOT equal a bigger paycheck. Clinton elminiated that in ‘96. LAB still has a point. More energy needs to be put in trying to be self sufficient instead of expecting it to be habnded to them. THAT being said, many of these people have no other experience to buld on and generations have been dependant on state and county aid. There is no easy answer, but ideas like “sterilization” are plain ridiculous.

  11. ExChicagoPatInNYC March 28 at 12:32 pm

    This would be a horrible use for this land. There probably isn’t a more prime piece of real estate in the country, and all of you are getting excited about a Target moving in? How about a mixed use residential/commercial zone with a park. Or use this space to build one of the largest urban green developments in the country? Think big people!

    The problem with Chicago is the small mindedness and lack of culture of its citizens. It makes you all the more susceptible to corrupt politicians who will take large political contributions to approve a Target going up here. That’s why I moved to New York. There’s a higher density of intelligent people relative to the segregated, narrow minds of Chicago

  12. AngInChicago March 28 at 12:38 pm

    Um, ExChicagoPatInNYC…Lincoln Park is just steps away from this area, in addition to Oz Park. Both of these green spaces serve the area quite well, not to mention the lake being a few blocks away. A Target would be ideal for the residents providing both jobs and shopping. As far as this being “prinme piece of real estate IN THE COUNTRY” (?????) Obviously NYC instills exaggeration into the higher density of intelligent people it’s producing. Stay in NYC. (Many of) The residents of the Gold Coast, Lincoln Park and River North areas in Chicago would like a Target to shop at.

  13. Turd Ferguson March 28 at 12:40 pm

    They did that already. It’s called Australia.

  14. JoeyB March 28 at 12:44 pm

    Ex Chicago pat,

    You moved to New York and you think that “there isn’t a more prime piece of real estate in the country” than a site on W. Division Street? It’s not even the most prime location in CHICAGO. You don’t think that, say, the West Side yards in NYC are a bit more “prime” than this site?

    Apparently, you’ve brought down that density of intelligent people in NYC.

  15. commenting like it matters March 28 at 12:58 pm

    while I like Target, it’s pointless to build a big-box retailer there, especially if the City subsidizes Target.

    A new Target will only cannibalize existing sales from the stores in the area (the other Target on Clybourn, Dominick’s, Jewel, Costco, etc).

    C’mon, where’s the outrage? No public money should go to the big box retailers. Or at least if you’re going to subsidize a retail, subsidize Sears (even though their stores are sub-par)–at least the profits will stay within the state.

  16. Dave March 28 at 1:05 pm

    Did I read that the CHA is the decision-maker here??

    ExChiPat is a breath of fresh air amongst the foolish and ill-informed reactionaries who make the majority comments on the Tribune site. It would be wonderful if the Section 8 ranters could stay on-point here.

    Yes, we need real urban planning for the Halsted corridor, and CHA should not be making this decision. Certainly, we don’t need the congestion that Target would bring: we can envision Halsted clogged with bumper-to-bumper SUVs from Grand to North Ave as the masses make their pilgrimage for cheap stuff.


  17. Daisy March 28 at 1:14 pm

    Joey B:

    If Target (or any business) get that area, I want them to make a deal for a Brown Line stop. Just like Apple did for the Red Line on North Avenue/Clyborne.


    I want to know, too, if Roundy’s grocery store is still coming. Also I agree with you that Walmart in that spot will be better than the Diversity and Surf. Even the north side have some empty commercial lots. Over the weekend on Elston Avenue, I saw commercial real estate space across the street from Best Buy and Khols.

  18. Me from here March 28 at 1:19 pm

    Great place for the Target logo, seeing many that lived there were just that by way of gun crosshairs..

  19. Scot March 28 at 1:21 pm

    City of Chicago, Cook County, State of Illnois, The Federal government are overdrawn at the bank.The best use of the land will be to bring money INTO tax collection, not spend tax dollars. The time of The Cold Equations is here.

  20. PG March 28 at 1:29 pm

    I live 2 blocks north of Cabrini and would not want a Target in the neighborhood. As it is traffic is bad on Division and Larrabee and would only get worse with more traffic lights. North Ave would even be worse than it already is.

  21. Jaygip March 28 at 1:41 pm

    The only reason it was considered the worse Project is because it was in walking distance from the Gold Coast. They created a reason to tear it down. Putting a Target there would be like selling peanuts at Gibson’s Steak House.

  22. Jefferson March 28 at 1:58 pm

    Good point on the need for a stop on the Ravenswood, er.. Brown Line. Sorry, I forgot about all tourists, transplants and yuppies (and probably foreigners, immigrants and minorities, too) that need everything color-coordinated. I know, I know. That is how Washington DC does it.

    Anyways, there so be no extra parking build. Just street parking. Remember, it is the yuppies that think a little cigarette smoke is going to kill them but then they wanna hop into a car (a Michigan or Ohio plated one at that) and drive everywhere. Remember, you are in the big city with the big boys. This ain’t Edina, Bloomfield Hills, LaDue or Toledo. Catch the Division bus. Do the planet good.

  23. JoeyB March 28 at 2:22 pm

    I’m sure Jefferson still tries to use tokens on the CTA. Not sure why he needs to beat bup on everyone who isn’t a grouchy old man.

  24. Dave March 28 at 2:31 pm

    Hey ExCicagoPat, There is a Nice park right there already or atleast VERY close. Chicago is a worldwide leader in parks. They put little and Big parks up everywhere.
    A Target to replace Cabrini Green??? Thats Fantastic. The New Home`s, Condos and townhouses they already put there are Very Nice, The park is Very Nice with a Great Park House and with Dominicks and Target along with Hair cutting places, AT&T Store, Gas station,Fast Food places, Urban Garden, it will be a Great addition.

  25. Dan Harkins March 28 at 3:26 pm

    I’d welcome any new development in the area to help jump start more development. There already is mixed income housing in the area (new by the way) that is not moving because of the lack of other development. To the New Yorker – typical answer from a new yorker – as a frequent visitor to NYC – NYC sells out to the world – your name says it all ExChiPatinNY – you don’t know what’s going on here. By the way – I love Tom Callahan’s comment on here – we have examples all over the world of what happens when we don’t subsidize the poor and incompetent – exactly what Tom said – watch what happens when you kill social programs and welfare – Some people just can’t see the big picture even if they try Tom. It’s not about what should or shouldn’t be – it’s about reality.

  26. Chris March 28 at 3:47 pm

    Good call NY transplant whatever your name is, some more residential in and around river north. That is just what us property owners want in the area, some more supply to come on the market.

    Good thinking.

  27. Dave March 28 at 4:54 pm


    Say that to the people who live by Target on Elston Avenue. Believe me they want a Target store on Halsted, so the people in your area (and others areas of the city) don’t come over to the Elston location.

    Why you think Target is building stores in former Carson building and former Fanny May factory on the near west side. Because the Target location on Roosevelt and Clark is congested. Same problem applies to Costco on Clyborne/Damen. The second location will be on the near west side in 2012.

    If you thinks this is bad, wait until Walmart start putting stores on the north side. People from downtown, the west and near south side (Hyde Park area) will be coming to the area because there is no Walmart in their neighborhood.

    So don’t complain about what stores you don’t want in your area. Until other neighborhoods get these stores, they will come to future Target (or Walmart) on Halsted Avenue.

  28. Tim March 28 at 6:35 pm

    It’s terrible that an absolutely abhorrent company like Target is welcomed with open arms, while Walmart consistently gets the pitchforks and torches treatment. I previously worked for Target, currently work for Walmart. Target is by far the more sinister company.

  29. John C March 28 at 6:56 pm

    OMG Target woo hoo woo hoo .. yipee yipee Target everybody
    targets coming to town..

  30. Ryan Flynn March 28 at 7:48 pm

    I think they should expand the City Farm and make it one big urban garden.

  31. MOE March 28 at 8:10 pm

    Exchicago pat in NYC,

    I try to tell people this all the time but Chicagoans are easily offended and get overly emotional by these statements. New Yorkers are MUCH smarter than Chicagoans. I won’t even say New Yorker’s…I’ll say the average American outside of Chicago. They’re wiser, more polished and more sophisticated.

    And you can probably back me up on this one too…the average New York kid in the projects is probably smarter than the average successful Chicagoan…if not smarter. And I’m being dead serious! People in Chicago think VERY SMALL MINDED and you’re right, this is why they get rammed up the waazu politically speaking. Unfortunately they don’t see what others do and I guess if you live with yourself and others like you long enough, your environment is considered normal.

    I think it’s pretty funny but in reality is very sad.

  32. J-chi March 28 at 9:07 pm

    I think this would be a total waste of space. As large as this area is a nice park and some high end condos and town homes would be awesome! It would almost be like a West Gold Coast.

  33. Sjain March 28 at 10:54 pm

    I just bought a condo about 2 blocks away.

    Idea of Target: ehh. Not too exciting.

    What would be nice:
    Some boutique stores, some nice niche stores, some restaurants, some green space etc etc.
    Let’s lift the vicinity up a little bit. Parks, or Tennis courts maybe?
    Then there is that new development planned a block away on north and halsted.
    They should keep a similar theme.

  34. ExChicagoPatInNYC March 29 at 9:08 a.m.

    To everybody that has a problem with my post, I’m not going to lose any sleep. If you have a problem with somebody who thinks that using a piece of real estate that may come along once in a generation (if not longer) that is this close to River North, the Gold Coast, the Mag Mile, Lincoln Park and the Loop for something more ambitious than a Target, then I feel sorry for you. You epitomize what my original post referenced. Small minded plebians.

    For those that agreed with me, it’s nice to know there are some big thinkers left.

    Option 1) Target. A big box discount retailer. Traffic. Congestion. Everythign that comes with it. Appeals to the lowest common denominator. Convenience over culture.

    Option 2) A mixed use green development featuring condos, apartments, boutiques, restaurants, local businesses, some open space.

    If you really think Option 1 is better, there is something wrong with you.

  35. RFGF March 29 at 9:59 a.m.

    I’m also a Chicago Expat in NYC, except we own a condo on Division Street, so I’m directly affected by this store. I couldn’t agree with ExChicagoPatinNYC more. As a forward thinking Chicagoan my fiance bought a condo, at market rate, and really embraced the mixed use of the neighborhood. Now I feel like we are being punished for falling for Chicago’s plan. Our condo will be across from a sea of blacktop and impossible to get to due to traffic. I feel sick about it.

  36. jk March 29 at 10:56 a.m.

    the section 8ers get thrown out and a neighborhood grows.can’t wait to get the statistics on the new south side wal mart store “shrinkage” costs.chicago loses 200K blacks in the last decade and people move back to the city.thank god.

  37. JoeyB March 29 at 11:40 a.m.

    Ex pat, obviously you are small minded, because a mixed use condo/rental development is what has been going on in the neighborhood for years. As for “local businesses”, that’s what they have a few blocks away in old town. Really. Odd that you feel the need to read about “samll minded” Chicago. I left NYC because it was filled with wannabees like you. How’s that $4000 a month one bedroom apartment treating you?

    By the way, there are plenty of those “once in a generation” parcels avalible for Development in the former Cabrini Green area. Oh, and there’s a park right across the street from the Target site, which leads me to believe some of you aren’t really from the area (Seward Park).

    “Appeals to the lowest common denominator”? No, that would be a check cashing store or pawnshop, maybe a rendering plant. Sorry, they have Targets in wealthy areas too.

    by the way, have any of you seen the kinds of Tragets they build in these locations? Been to the one on the northside – they don’t have a big parking lot, it’s all within the footprint of the structure.

  38. ExChicagoPatInNYC March 29 at 12:36 pm

    @JoeyB my $1400 per sq ft loft condo, the models I spleep with, my 7 figure salary, and living in the greatest city in the world is treating me well. Being <35 years old and not married is the icing on the cake. Thanks for asking.

    If you want to get to the short and sweet of my argument…all the comments before my first post drank the Target kool-aid immediately. The city has been talking about taking down Cabrini for the past decade. Now that it's finally down, it seems like this Target is going to be rammed down Division Street's throat. Is this what you all really want???

    I'm sure the people who bought the townhomes (or condos, whatever they actually are) on Division across from Cabrini 6 or 7 years ago definitely envisioned living across the street from Target. Yeah, Seward is across the street. I'm not talking about a huge park. I'm talking about some nice landscaping, green areas…maybe something like Gramercy Park but not private.

    I've seen the Target on Peterson. It's quite the architectural masterpiece. It's glorious. Really. No sarcasm. I swear. But I guess in the end, there are a lot of suburbanites moving back to the city. Suburbanites love their Targets, convenience, and low, low prices!

    I'd love to be able to move back to Chicago one day…but as long as there are people there who actually are defending a Target moving in…I'll stay in NYC. This place may not be a panacea, but it beats Chicago.

  39. Jefferson March 29 at 1:20 pm

    . . . and JoeyB had the nerve to call me “grouchy” yesterday.

    Bottom line is we all have different opinions on what would be best for the area (in our own opinion) and based on our formal education, experience and preferences. Realistically, Targets will do no worse to the neighborhood than its competitors. Personally, I get confused why, on principle, Target is welcomed with open arms but Wal-Mart gets threatend. Society is full of inconsistencies as people have lost understanding of that our country is one of free markets. That means no subsidies if it does get built.

    It is unstanderable to find a native go against a transplant. But it is better to witness two transplants go against each other! And about New York on top of it.

  40. JoeyB March 29 at 1:27 pm

    No problem, Jefferson. Division street is a wide and busy thoroughfare that is not suited for small, independent retailers; it is not a strolling street, and never will be.

    As for ExChicago, it’s a shame you don’t relaize that there are actually (gasp) Targets in New York City!Even in Manhattan! I guess you’ll have to move to Venice now, right? As for Gramercy Park, there are smallish parks in the area as well, but the reason Gramercy Park works is BECAUSE it’s private and has the cache of being private; it’s also an incredibly boring park for children. Also, gramercy park actually interrupts the grid and is along two small streets, and not along 23rd street and lexington avenue – which is much like having it on Division.

  41. Dave March 29 at 2:24 pm

    It was reported that there are 7 acres there … I’m not opposed to Target stores, but with 7 acres we should dream big – and I’m not saying condos, the housing market is telling us there is enough supply. Think … something that would brings jobs, tax revenues, and requires a big amount of land … come on, brain storm big ….

  42. RFGF March 29 at 2:54 pm


  43. ExChicagoPatInNYC March 29 at 3:03 pm

    @JoeyB The singular Target in Manhattan is in East Harlem. Feel free to visit it if you ever get back to the city. Do you work for Target? That would make sense how someone who seems somewhat educated and intelligent would be such a fan of a big box on Division St.

    Dave has the right idea. My whole point is that there are 1000 better things to do with that land than have Target, or any other big box shop, take over that space via money (political contributions) and muscle.

    JoeyB, do you honestly think a Target is the best use of that land?

  44. Jefferson March 29 at 3:31 pm

    @ Dave

    It was reported that there are 7 acres there … I’m not opposed to Target stores, but with 7 acres we should dream big. . .

    Up until the mid-1990’s there used to be an Oscar Mayer plant nearby that flanked both sides of the “L.” Perhaps a return to well-paying manufacturing/warehousing/distribution jobs? There is a need for similar type land use opportunities close to central business district. Especially, given consideration of the expanses available with public housing demolition. And, no, Section 8 and public housing are not the same thing. The CHA owns the land. Whatever is constructed will be governed under a land lease.

    The point above regarding housing saturation is well taken. The concept of popular living in or close to downtown is overblown. Eventually demographics will shift and the core central city will once again be less appealing.

  45. 312redhead March 29 at 6:04 pm

    To ExChicagoPatNYC,
    Your argument is a good one – but you lost some credibility when you had to go bragging about your ridiculous, clearly embellished lifestyle with models, 7 figure salary, etc…..Don’t make it personal – people will stop listening. Sounds to me like you couldn’t make it here in our great City. Again, your plan may be decent, but you are a TOOL. Glad you’re gone!

  46. ExChicagoPatInNYC March 29 at 9:52 pm

    @312redhead You may not like me, and I may be a TOOL….but you know I’m right. I like your style though. Meet up for a drink next time I’m in town?

  47. MGibson March 30 at 11:49 a.m.

    Do you really think that it is only those people who benefit from welfare and social programs. No. There are plenty of white and other races who are on welfare and go to pantries and any other entity that is giving anything away. The reason Wisconsin is in the state it is now is because of small minded racist people like you; just keep on hating and judging wrongly and soon you will hopefully be in welfare line and look for all those social programs that you are advocating to have cancelled. Before making comments like these do your research, and find out on who’s back this nation was really built.

  48. Pussy Galore March 30 at 12:41 pm

    Let them have their section 8 vouchers, as long as they don’t come to my neighbor. What a waste of public funds. Section 8 is such a failed experiement. it’s suicide to any village that accepts it. Look at cicero and berwyn. over run by section 8 that brought nothing but crime, gangs, welfare, and jobless degenerates. as a landlord, i never accept section 8.