UCSD wants to put a mini Target on campus

Target will play a central role in UC San Diego’s efforts to create a city-within-a-city on campus should talks lead to a miniature-sized store inside the student center.

The retailer and the public institution are currently negotiating the terms of a lease for a small-format Target venue in place of the campus bookstore, officials confirmed to the Union-Tribune.

The dialogue comes as UCSD works to construct housing to accommodate double the number of students on campus as it does today. For instance, the in-construction, $627-million North Torrey Pines Living and Learning Center will add 2,000 beds, as well as retail to support a growing student population that has limited access to food and shops.

“UC San Diego is undergoing a transformation to enhance the student experience and become a primarily residential campus. As part of this effort, campus leadership established a goal of enhancing dining, shopping and entertainment opportunities for students, faculty and staff,” said Jeff Graham, who leads real estate efforts for the university.

“UC San Diego is currently in confidential negotiations with multiple local and national restaurant and retail operators. This includes Target with whom we are discussing a potential small store concept on campus.”

Specifics are mostly under wraps for now, but the tentative plan, as outlined in a post on a faculty website, would have Target take over the second floor of the building currently occupied by the University of California, San Diego bookstore at the Price Center. That means Target would be a neighbor to Amazon, which operates a package pickup site on the first floor.

And, if the store stays true to Target’s small-format formula it will take up around 35,000 square feet. It would presumably carry a pared-down collection of products tailored to students such grab-and-go food and dorm-room essentials — think toothpaste, gadgets and school gear. The proposed UCSD Target location won’t have any public parking. The existing bookstore would be consolidated and moved, the post said.

Target operates 23 stores in San Diego County, including a 3-year-old mini store in South Park and a soon-to-open small-format spot in North Park. Two similarly sized locations are also planned for Ocean Beach and Spring Valley as part of the retailer’s push to build community-serving stores in jam-packed neighborhoods.

Part of the retailer’s strategy involves building small-format stores near college campuses around the nation. Target has more than 20 university-themed mini stores, including locations close to — or on — the University of Southern California, Pennsylvania State University and the University of Florida, Gainesville.

Staff writer Gary Robbins contributed to this story.

jennifer.vangrove@sduniontribune.com (619) 293-1840 Twitter: @jbruin

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