The city finally has hit the bull’s-eye: Target is officially on its way to East Liberty.

Some seven years in the making, the city and developer Mosites Co. have closed on the financing for Target’s proposed East Liberty store, virtually guaranteeing its construction.

The retailer is expected to break ground on the 143,000-square-foot store — one of only a few Targets in the country with two levels — next month.

Construction will take about a year, with the opening scheduled for July 2011. A formal announcement is expected today.

Target will join Home Depot and Whole Foods Market as anchors in a bustling East Liberty commercial corridor that not too long ago was a poster child for inner city blight. Together, they “will change the shopping patterns of many city residents,” said Steven Mosites Jr., Mosites Co. president.

Rob Stephany, city Urban Redevelopment Authority executive director, sees the development as part of the “re-regionalizing” of East Liberty, once one of the largest commercial centers in the state.

“Home Depot, Whole Foods, the restaurants, they are already regional attractors and I think Target will amplify that posture even more,” he said.

Key components of the financing for the $46.8 million project include a $20 million loan from M&T Bank and $12.6 million equity investment by PNC facilitated by new markets tax credits.

Mark Minnerly, Mosites’ director of real estate development and a partner in the project, described the PNC investment as a “gap filler” that enabled the store to proceed.

The URA supplied $14.1 million for site development, including a $10 million U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development loan and a $2 million HUD grant.

Under the arrangement with Target, Mosites was responsible for securing the financing for the store. Target will be liable for the repayments through a 29-year lease.

The fact the developer was able to secure financing for a retail store in a challenging credit environment is a tribute both to Target and East Liberty, Mr. Mosites said. “All in all, I think [lenders] felt really good about Target’s credit and the location,” he said.

Completion of the financing marks a milestone in a journey that began 10 years ago when a master plan designated the five-acre site bordering Penn Avenue, Penn Circle and Broad Street for a department store.

Target became the “focus” of those efforts about seven years ago, Mr. Mosites said. He described the courting as “herculean” given the recession and the decision by Target to re-evaluate all new store openings.

“Getting Target to invest in East Liberty was an intense strategic effort that could not have happened without so many valuable partners who believe in the economic transformation of our city and of East Liberty,” Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said in a statement.

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Comments on this post:
  1. Monna says

    Have you all seen the difference between pictures on the east end blogs/sites from actually walking through the east end neighborhoods? I have… hmmm. I believe this urban renewal or development, whatever you want to call it, is a ploy. 12 years I’ve been in this neighborhood and I’ve seen a lot of things but this is crazy. Folks are being lied to. Families (renters) that were here since I have and longer are being replaced by families who can afford to buy the very dwelling that was once their home. People who did lived here was told that the neighborhood was getting a new change, yeah thinking it would be the buildings and landscaping, not knowing they meant the change in faces as well. I don’t recognize half the people no more. These new neighbors have the gaw to snood up their noses at me and my kids or they don’t give eye contact at all. And I always smile first. They act like everyone is out to rob ‘em when they walk down the street. Why do some move in areas where they act scary towards the very people that make the community. And I had never seen so many police cars in this area as I do now, maybe down near the busy spots where the old bars were, but not in the residence. We had maybe one or two cars that drove through a day to keep watch and we knew them. They always spoke to the kids, now huh nice Mr Policeman is gone replaced with thirsty hounds. And recently they slowly drove behind my 15yo right after school for 3 blocks til he got to our front steps. He didn’t understand what was happening. He and his siblings grew up here, two who graduated here and all good kids. Now the good kids have been targeted like those who are doing wrong. This has left a bad taste in people’s mouths and others angry. Why aren’t these meetings being announced to the community, like flyers? Not everyone know about your facebook group notices or blogs. Try Flyers at bus stops & grocers or word of mouth on the street- that might help. And have it where the community can get to it- like the Union Project. Wow- wow now you’re bringing in the very store people have been asking for for years. I wonder why now? Hmmmmm. (No- the real reason). What happened to that great plan for the new playground that was to have been built in May? Please don’t tell me you’ll have to relocate the people in buildings just to construct a park and to later find new faces living there after. So sad. I’ve been seeing and hearing a lot of bad things so I hope this works out for those who just moved into the area and those who plan to move in. I nolonger feel comfortable here these last 3 years because of the ignorance of everyone. It feels like twilight zone. Not that it matters to any of you, I’m moving my family to my home town this summer excepting less pay, atleast I’ll know what to expect from the people as a community there. Godspeed.

    June 17th, 2010 

  2. Emily_ELDI says

    Hi Mona,

    Where do you live in East Liberty? Are you intersted in becoming more involved?

    June 29th, 2010