Ocean Beach residents sound off over Target Express

SAN DIEGO --A packed room booed and yelled their way through a contentious community meeting in Ocean Beach Wednesday night. At stake? Whether a small Target store should come into their neighborhood.

The store is expected to move into the Antique Center on Newport Avenue. With 18,000 square feet and 33 on-site parking spots, it's the largest building on the street.

The OB Planning Board voted unanimously Wednesday night to deny a liquor permit to Target to sell alcohol, hoping that would make the move less attractive, they said.

The opening is being met with mixed reaction by residents, as the neighborhood prides itself on supporting small businesses. Thousands of people have signed a petition against the move and one store is selling T-shirts that say "no Target in OB."

"Mixed emotions, to be truthful," longtime Ocean Beach resident Liz Garcia said. "I mean ideally it would be wonderful to be able go to Target and not have to drive so far, but I wonder about the population and the traffic. It does make me wonder."

Company representatives also met with the Ocean Beach Merchants Association Monday night to address their concerns.

The property realtor, Tony Franco, told FOX 5 the owners of the Antique Center tried for months to find someone to take over the business. Target was the only company that could afford the asking price of $6.5 million.

Target plans to upgrade the building and use the existing structure rather than demolish and rebuild, he said.