Target ready to break ground at Metreon

The Minneapolis-based big-box chain Target, which operates more than 1,700 stores nationwide, received the last of the permits needed to start making a new home on the second floor of the Metreon building, at Mission and Fourth streets.

Also, the owners of the Metreon — Westfield Group, which also owns the nearby Westfield San Francisco Centre — nailed down permits for a dramatic redesign of the first floor.

Work on the 85,000-square-foot project might start as soon as January, and the projects could be complete by mid-2012.

City officials hope the addition of Target and the remodel of the first floor will make the Metreon a draw for shoppers and help attract a final large tenant — perhaps a restaurant — to the long-vacant fourth floor.

The Metreon opened in 1999 to great fanfare as a theme park-style haven for gamers, anchored by a large Sony store. Within a few years, it was clear that model did not draw the crowds initially hoped for, and eventually Sony sold the building and pulled out its store. Since then, city planners and building managers have cast around for a workable vision for the building, which is in a prime location in the heavily trafficked area off Market Street and across from the Yerba Buena Gardens.

The new anchor store could be just the thing to finally make the building work, said Amy Neches, manager of project-area planning and development for the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency.

“You know what, people love Target and I think it’ll be very ­successful,” she said.

Also, the Target store could help attract a restaurant for the top floor of the building, which is too distant from the street to support retail or many other uses, Neches said.

The new store is expected to create jobs, but the exact number is unclear. Last month, Redevelopment Agency staff said Target could hire between 200 and 250 employees and generate 225 temporary construction jobs. On Tuesday, a news release from the Mayor’s Office included figures stating that Target would hire 700 employees and generate 600 new construction jobs.

The Metreon Target is the first of two planned in The City. The company is wending through the planning process for a location at Geary Boulevard and Masonic Avenue.

kworth@sfexaminer.com

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