Confirmed: Target scraps Wilburton store plans

Target Corporation has confirmed it is scrapping plans to construct a new store at the corner of Northeast Fourth Street and 116th Avenue Northeast. The decision comes after months of litigation with the city in order to expedite construction and amend the city's land use code.

The Bellevue Reporter first reported Target's potential plan for deferment of the project in late June. Target Corporation stated then it had no information to share about a store in Bellevue, though a Target representative had just sat before City Council on June 23 and said how excited the company was to begin constructing the 137,000-square-foot, three-story structure.

Target Corp. confirmed its plan to stop the project in the Wilburton subarea of the city on July 3 in a statement:"Bellevue is a great community for Target, and we enjoy serving guests at our Factoria store. After careful consideration, we have determined that, at this time, other opportunities within the community are not the right fit for Target."

Clearing the way for the new Target store had been part of a settlement agreement approved by council in May to continue the city's Fourth Street extension project from 116th to 120th Avenue Northeast, by cutting through a portion of Best Buy and Home Depot's shared parking lot.

The settlement with property owner KG Investment Management included allowing future tenant Target to construct a building larger than allowed under current land use code and enter into a development agreement with the city for design guidelines. Bellevue's comprehensive plan had called for zoning this area for commercial business and allowing individual development agreements following completion of the extension project.

"Target's change of plans doesn't change the city's need to implement the subarea plans and comprehensive plan now that the Fourth Street extension is under construction," said David Grant with the city of Bellevue, adding work on a development agreement with Target has stopped.

The City Council was slated to approve the land use code amendment and rezone of the property from general commercial to community business on Monday, but will instead take the issue up July 14.

Deputy Mayor Kevin Wallace said the Fourth Street extension was the linchpin for further growth in the Wilburton subarea, and Target's exodus won't change those plans.

"I don't know the reasons behind it, but it is what it is," he said of Target pulling out of the project. "Obviously we're disappointed. We spent a lot of time coming up with a good solution to accommodate Target moving here."

Wallace said there is still a 160,000-square-foot lot available in a great location, and what Target no longer wants could be to the benefit of another big box store. He said Costco has long been interested in a Bellevue location.

"I think this makes for great potential," Wallace said. "Target doesn't want to go to downtown Bellevue, maybe Costco will."

While the city has no control in who will show an interest in the property in the future, Wallace said there was a benefit to its settlement agreement for the Fourth Street extension in the form of $7 million in grant funding that was on hold pending a resolution.

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