Bargain shoppers of the South Coast get ready: The push to build a Target in Goleta appears to be building steam, and a proposal may come to the City Council as soon as this fall.

That’s what City Hall admitted this week, and while Target is not yet confirming the location, its corporate spokesperson from Minneapolis, Eddie Baeb, did explain, “We have been and are pursuing new store locations in the Santa Barbara area. We are very excited about the market and our prospects of having a store there.”

According to city spokesperson Valerie Kushnerov, the process began in March, when Target approached the city with an idea to develop a store on the northeast corner of Los Carneros Way and Hollister Avenue, just a few steps from City Hall. The spot is the current home of the Goleta Valley Athletic Club and a landscape design firm, and formerly was the site of a FedEx distribution building and a Chevron gas station. All the properties are currently on the market for either sale or lease.

The next move was in August, when Target applied for a planner consultation, which means the relationship was getting a bit more serious. The company has an option to purchase the properties, according to Kushnerov, but there would be a substantial investment due by late October. With the approval process expected to take two years, Target is shooting to submit a proposal to City Hall to initiate a general plan amendment and perhaps a development agreement, which assures some timeliness in processing, by this fall.

“Target is engaged in due diligence, which includes contact with planning staff on policies, standards, and practices contained in the general plan, zoning code, and other city ordinances,” said the city’s planning director Steve Chase. “That is what a planner consultation is all about: clarifying the rules of the road and estimating time and costs involved in a public planning process. Staff understands that Target is shooting for the Thanksgiving time frame to complete their due diligence. There really is not much more to share until the Planner Consultation process is completed and discussions with Target have ensued.”

Previous attempts to build a Target in the Santa Barbara region were widely welcomed by consumers, but quickly shot down by decision makers and others concerned about traffic and similar impacts. Previously complicating matters in at least one of these attempts was that the City of Santa Barbara began looking at putting a Target on one of the properties it owns near the airport, in the middle of the City of Goleta. That caused considerable regional anger, and the idea didn’t get far. This time, with the City of Goleta looking at the store within its own borders, there may be a better chance.


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