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Target is planning a small-format grocery store, as shown in the rendering, near Michigan State University’s campus in East Lansing. Target is planning a small-format grocery store, as shown in the rendering, near Michigan State University’s campus in East Lansing. COURTESY RENDERING

Target plans small-format grocery store near MSU in downtown East Lansing

BY Friday, April 14, 2017 10:39am

EAST LANSING — Target Corp. this week announced plans to open a small-format store along East Grand River Avenue in downtown East Lansing.

The Minneapolis-based retailer said in a statement that it projects a 2019 opening for a 22,000-square-foot store as part of the Center City District development planned by Northbrook, Ill.-based Harbor Bay Real Estate Advisors LLC, which MiBiz reported on earlier this month.

Harbor Bay Real Estate CEO Mark Bell said at the time that he was in discussions with an unnamed retailer to occupy the ground-floor space for the proposed $132 million project that will also include market-rate housing, residential units for those 55 and older and a large parking component.

“When those four variables are woven together, at the end of the day, you have a truly mixed-use development that will hopefully attract (a variety) of people and interests,” Bell told MiBiz. “I think it really strives to encapsulate mixed-use and urban design principles.”

Target said that the proposed store will stand as one of its 35 small-format stores, five of which are on college campuses.

The small-format stores focus on groceries and “grab-and-go items,” as well as cosmetics and general merchandise such as clothing and home decor.

Set to be located on the block of Grand River Avenue east of Abbot Road and on a city-owned surface parking lot along Albert Avenue to the north, the planned Center City District will be built directly across the street from Michigan State University’s main campus.

With more than 50,000 students, Target executives say that the East Lansing location fits in with its overall growth strategy.

“Growth on college campuses and in urban markets is a priority for Target. We’re able to serve more guests by adding small-format stores near top universities across the country, including the quick-trip shopping experience we’ll bring to East Lansing and the Michigan State University campus in 2019,” Target Senior Vice President of Properties Mark Schindele said in a statement. “We’re thrilled to open our first small-format store in East Lansing and to join the Spartan community.”

Target is among a growing number of big-box retailers that are now downsizing to gain a footing in growing urban areas.

Walker-based Meijer Inc. plans to be part of a “super block” development led by Rockford Construction Company Inc. along the north side of Bridge Street near Seward Avenue on the west side of Grand Rapids.

The company plans to open its first small-format store on the site with a facility of around 30,000 square feet. A typical Meijer superstore is around 200,000 square feet.

Meijer has had mixed success with previous attempts to downsize stores. As MiBiz reported in March, the company announced plans to close two underperforming suburban Chicago locations of around 90,000 square feet each.

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