Petaluma location still on track; Marin developer wants planning to continue

SAN RAFAEL -- Target Corp. has delayed plans for a 137,000-square-foot store in San Rafael’s Shoreline Center as the department store chain scales back planned store openings, but the retailer continues to pursue a location in a proposed Petaluma shopping center.

A Target spokeswoman would not provide details on when the San Rafael project might move forward.

“At this time, it would be premature to confirm updated timing or speculate on the future direction of this project,” said Target spokeswoman Anna Anderson. “We’ll continue to evaluate each individual new store project and make modifications as the retail environment changes.”

Cal-Pox Inc., owner of Shoreline Center, located in east San Rafael on Shoreline Parkway, wants the city to proceed with preparations of a final environmental impact report for a 137,000-square-foot department store to be built on a vacant 19.4-acre lot next to the existing Home Depot store. The Sonnen BMW dealership has been using the site for vehicle storage.

“We remain optimistic that our project with Target will move forward, but it may be slower because of the economy,” Cal-Pox President Stephanie Plante said.

About the same time as a city Planning Commission hearing on the draft environmental document in late October, Minneapolis-based Target announced it would scale back 2009 store openings considerably and 2010 openings even more.

Cal-Pox is in talks with city officials about the proposed department store as well as options for the now-vacant Team Chevrolet dealership in the center.

The proposed Target store was projected to have some effect on San Rafael retailers, but “by 2014 there is unmet demand in most retail categories, and by 2019 there is unmet demand in all retail categories,” according to the draft environmental report.

In Petaluma, Target continues to vie for a 138,000-square-foot anchor spot in Regency Center’s proposed 380,000-square-foot East Washington Plaza shopping center.

An environmental review of that project is pending, and a fiscal and economic impact assessment was completed in early March. One-third of the $119 million in projected annual sales from the project would likely come from Target, the only identified prospective retailer in the assessment.

According to a 2004 city study, $193 million-a-year in sales-tax revenue is “leaking” to neighboring cities because certain retailers don’t exist in the city.