The retailer expects to open its Boardman store in July 2002.
By CYNTHIA VINARSKY
VINDICATOR BUSINESS WRITER
BOARDMAN -- This time the rumor is true: After years of searching the Boardman area for an ideal location, Target plans to open a new store in The Shops at Boardman Park on Boardman-Poland Road.
The Minneapolis-based chain has already begun interior renovations at the site of the former Tops grocery store on the southern end of the plaza, with plans for a grand opening in July 2002. The space had been vacant since Tops moved out two years ago.
First store here: Target opened its first Mahoning Valley store in the Eastwood Mall in Niles last October. The 125,000 store built onto the mall as its fifth anchor and connected to the center by a 170-foot-long corridor.
Lou Rescineto, township zoning inspector, said the announcement follows years of speculation about the retailer's intentions. Several other locations had been mentioned, including the site of the former Maag mansion on U.S. Route 224 and Tanglewood Drive.
Rescineto said the zoning office had received no requests from the company for sign or occupancy permits, so he was unaware that a decision had been made.
The Shops location is ideal, Rescineto asserted, because its two exits are equipped with traffic lights and provide safe, easy highway access. "I'd rather see empty space filled than have them build another building that needs another traffic light," he said.
Other stores relocating: Shops marketing director Celeste Lisko said plaza owners are moving several stores to other spots in the shopping center to make room for Target's 125,400-square-foot store. The tenant relocation should be complete by September.
Fashion Bug is relocating to a new, 8,000-square-foot space next to Old Country Buffet, with a grand opening scheduled for Aug. 30. H & amp; R Block will also move to another spot in the plaza.
Office Max will stay on the southern section of the plaza as the only other tenant on that end besides Target, but the Furniture Max section of the store will close. That move will open up about 7,000 square feet of additional space for Target.
Dave Handel of Handel Investments, which owns and develops the Shops at Boardman Park, said the plaza "boasts the most impressive tenant mix in the Mahoning Valley."
Other Shops tenants include Kohl's, Value City Furniture, Best Buy, Barnes & amp; Noble, Old Navy and Panera Bread.
About Target: Based in Minneapolis, Target is a division of the Dayton Hudson Corp. and is America's fourth largest general merchandise retailer. The company employs more than 250,000 and operates 1,320 stores in 46 states, including 990 Target stores, 266 Mervyn's stores and 64 Marshall Field's stores.
The company reported 2000 profits of $1.264 billion on sales of $36.9 billion, up from sales of $33.7 billion in 1999. Target reported sales of $3.38 billion for the five weeks ended July 7, up 7.1 percent from $3.157 billion in the same period a year ago. Comparable-store sales increased 0.8 percent from June 2000.