Plans filed for renovation of Lawrence’s Target store; a bigger Starbucks seems like a possibility

photo by: Associated Press

Shoppers line up outside the Target store in Lawrence Thursday, Nov. 24, 2011.

Get ready for a big renovation at Lawrence’s SuperTarget store. Work is expected to begin next month, but what’s going to change at the south Iowa Street retailer is a bit unclear.

A smaller grocery department, though, appears to be a possibility, based on plans filed with Lawrence City Hall. There are also some other signs, less concrete at the moment, that a larger Starbucks may be coming to the store.

The retailer has filed for a building permit that would allow for approximately $3.5 million in renovations to the store at 3201 Iowa St., according to a building permit application on file. The application says about 54,000 square feet of the 165,000-square-foot store will be included in the renovation.

Based on plans filed with the application, a lot of the work appears to be centered on the northern end of the store, where the grocery department’s meat, produce and deli sections are. That’s the end of the store where Starbucks also currently has a small shop inside Target.

Your ear doesn’t have to be too close to the ground at the Lawrence SuperTarget to hear the rumors that Starbucks is going to expand as part of the renovation. An individual associated with the store said employees had been told that Starbucks would be taking over space currently occupied by the store’s deli and produce departments.

The plans filed at City Hall did not quite back that up, but it also left open the possibility. A building permit plan at City Hall does show deli and produce areas being vacated as part of the renovation. The plans, though, don’t mention Starbucks by name.

Target officials aren’t getting into those types of details either, yet.

“There are many considerations and factors that influence a remodel project’s timing, scope and specific details during the planning process, so we can provide more information once construction is underway,” a corporate spokeswoman with Target said via email.

The spokeswoman, however, also pointed to a corporate blog that aims to provide some general information about the remodels that Target plans to undertake in 2020. It gives Starbucks fans some reason to hope that the rumors are true.

“Some stores have a renovated Starbucks near the entrance too, so guests can pick up a latte on their way in or out,” the blog reports.

The plans filed at City Hall would allow the Starbucks to move much closer to the store’s northern entrance. It would allow for the coffee shop to basically be the first thing shoppers see to their right when they come through the entrance. The plans also seemingly would free up enough space to allow essentially a full-size Starbucks — complete with seating — to be located inside the Target. My understanding is the Target at the The Legends shopping center in Kansas City, Kan., has that type of setup.

Again, the plans don’t list Starbucks. This is me doing Starbucks detective work on your behalf (which historically has led me to discover that a double espresso does not double my productivity but does quadruple the number of times I need to leave my desk during the day.) Instead, the plans show Target is basically creating an empty space on the far northern end of its building. Presumably, another set of plans will be filed with details on how it will be filled. The current plans, though, show deli, bakery, produce and meat areas of the store being “vacated.” The plans also show a couple of new walls being built so that the only way customers would be able to access the northern area is through an opening near the store’s front entrance.

Other parts of the plan, though, indicate that groceries still will be a part of Target’s offerings. A sign permit filed with City Hall, for example, indicates the remodeled store still will have a sign on the front of the building advertising groceries. So, maybe room will be made for meat, produce, deli and other such items elsewhere in the store. The plans didn’t specify.

The sign permit also shows the southern entrance of the store will be promoted as an online pickup location. The Target blog said many of the store remodeling projects include a counter near one of the entrances where people can easily pick up items they have ordered over the internet.

We’ll have to wait and see what else may be in store for one of the largest big box stores in town. But perhaps we won’t have to wait too long. A store director did confirm that the remodeling is scheduled to begin in January. According to the plans on file at the city, the store will remain open during the remodeling work, which could take several months.

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