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Carbondale to ask Target if it’s interested in opening a store here or not

Lynn Burton

Forget about relying on the Crystal River Marketplace developer’s statements about Target coming to Carbondale.

The trustees voted 5-2 last week for a town staffer to talk directly to the retail giant about its level of interest in moving to town.

Trustee David Rippe made the proposal. He said Carbondale isn’t contacting Target to try to attract it to town. “It just helps for us to have as much information as possible,” Rippe said.

The proposed Crystal River Marketplace on Highway 133 is currently going through town review, and developer Brian Huster has confirmed he has talked with Target about opening a store in his 252,000-square-foot project.

Huster’s spokespersons have also referred to Target directly when they talk about a 125,000-square-foot space for an anchor tenant at the south end of the marketplace that backs up to Main Street, across from Crystal Plaza.

Target, which operates 1,000 stores in 46 states, has declined to comment to the local press about its plans.

The Carbondale planning and zoning commission scheduled an unprecedented special meeting for June 4 to discuss conditions of approval for Crystal River Marketplace. Final approval is in the hands of the Carbondale Board of Trustees.

“Time is of the essence,” Rippe said. “Let’s call them now. If they have no intention of moving here, I’d like to know that.”

For the past several months, Carbondale residents have debated whether a Target would be good or bad for the town. Supporters point to much needed sales tax revenues the store, and Crystal River Marketplace, could produce. Opponents claim the sales taxes the marketplace generates will not even be enough to pay for upgrades to Highway 133 which will be required when the stores open.

Rippe said there is also debate about whether the trustees should just review the project, or also consider the type of tenants it will attract. Rippe wants to know about the tenants.

“We want to make sure we are attracting some good tenants,” he said.

Voting for Rippe’s motion to contact Target were Fred Williams, Susie Darrow, Scott Chaplin and Andy Montoya. Voting against it were mayor Michael Hassig and Russ Criswell.

“I just thought it was a bad idea,” said Hassig. “It’s not a big deal it seems to me … but I couldn’t believe we’d get a straight answer from them, and we might be sending the wrong message about our open mindedness, that we are leaning one way or the other.”

Town manager John Hier said Economic Development Director JoAn Barnett will place the call to Target and doesn’t yet know what kind of questions she’ll ask. “But she’ll be calling fairly soon,” Hier said.

After talking to Target, Barnett will make a report to the trustees.


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