Oak Parkers got its new small-format Target department store Tuesday night when the store officially opened during a ribbon-cutting event.
The 22,000-square-foot store is located on the ground floor of The Emerson Apartments building at 1129 Lake St. The apartment complex includes two buildings – an 80-unit low-rise and a 190-unit high-rise. The high-rise is still under construction.
Oak Park Mayor Anan Abu-Taleb, who spoke at the ribbon cutting, said the Emerson Apartments – a partnership between Clark Street Real Estate and Lennar Multifamily Communities – has transformed Lake Street.
"Oak Park has become a destination for new residents, new businesses and visitors looking for great food, entertainment and shopping opportunities," he said.
Abu-Taleb noted that once completed the development will bring in roughly 500 new residents to the village.
"Once completed, these new developments are projected to generate about $4.5 million in new sales and property taxes," he said. "This money will go toward funding our schools, our parks, our streets, our police, our firefighters and the many other public services Oak Park residents deserve and respect."
Ivan Bahena, the store's team leader, said the community has welcomed Target with open arms.
"I think it's going to be a great opportunity not only for Target but for the community to have a store like us," he said.
The small-format store, which employs 79 workers, is like any other Target, just smaller in scale, Bahena said. The store offers groceries, beauty supplies, personal care products, clothing and home goods, among other departments.
It also has a Starbucks coffee shop and CVS pharmacy.
"I think it blends in really well with the overall community," Bahena said.
He added that the Oak Park Target is one of three new small-format stores that opened in the Chicago area on Tuesday – Target also had ribbon cuttings for new small-format shops in Skokie, 4955 Dempster St., and Lakeview Ashland, 3300 N. Ashland Blvd.
Makeda Hennings Hill, 19, a cashier at the store, said she hopes to one day be a manager at the Target. Hennings Hill said she is currently attending Triton College, studying business management. "I don't know what sleep is," she said.
Abu-Taleb said it is residents like Hennings Hill that the Target is helping.
"See the opportunities this is creating for people," he said. "As a village, we need to believe in people."
Shoppers got their first view of the Target on Tuesday. Rosa Ayllon said she lives a couple of blocks from the Target.
"I think it's wonderful for me – it's convenient," she said.
Ayllon, who works in Villa Park, said she also is happy there is a Starbucks at the location.
"They open at 7 in the morning, so I can have my coffee before going to work," she said.
Ayllon said she is disappointed with all the high-rises being built around downtown Oak Park, noting that she signed a petition opposing the luxury apartment building by Albion Residential at the corner of Lake and Forest.
"I don't like all the high-rises; I hate them," she said.
Reminded that she was standing in one of the high-rise developments, she laughed, stating: "What can you do? Some things are bad and some things are good."
In addition to the new Target, The Emerson Apartments will include an additional 4,000 square feet of retail space that will be occupied by The Groomery, a pet grooming business by Petsmart, and Firecakes donut shop.
Rachel Craveiro, a leasing agent with LMC, Lennar Multifamily Communities' property management company, said The Groomery is expected to open Oct. 28 and Firecakes sometime around Thanksgiving.
She noted that the low-rise residential units above Target are approximately 30 percent occupied. Lennar has begun so-called "hard-hat tours" of the 20-story high-rise building, which is not yet complete.
The first move-in date for the high-rise apartments is Nov. 1, she said. Residents began moving in the low-rise building at the beginning of September, she said.
"We can hold all apartments for up to three months at no additional cost to the resident," she said in an email.
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