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SAN DIEGO – National retailer Target Corp. plans to open a TargetExpress store in South Park in July, and residents are already voicing opposition.

“We don’t really feel like Target is the best fit — not the best thing for this neighborhood,” said Susan Hoffman, a South Park resident.

The TargetExpress store will take over the space of the old Gala Foods site. The store would offer fresh produce, a pharmacy, beauty products and other goods.

“Target, Wal-Mart, the big box retailers in general are looking at more opportunities in urban settings,” said Erik Bruvold, president of National University’s Institute for Policy research. 

Bruvold said it is only natural that Target would choose South Park because when it comes to retail, South Park is underserved.

“There’s about double more the acreage provided to retail in Rancho Penasquitos than down in South Park,” Bruvold said.

The TargetExpress will fill 19,000 square feet of space formerly occupied by the supermarket. 

Saad Hirmez, who owns the property, said residents had requested higher-end markets like Trader Joes or Whole Foods to fill the space.

“It was available for all of them, it was marketed and they apparently passed on,” said Hirmez.

Of all the retailers that were interested, Hirmez said Target was the clear choice.

“We felt that what Target was going to offer was a better fit for ourselves and the community,” he said.

“It doesn’t fit at all,” said Hoffman. “We don’t want the big box stores here and it’s definitely a concern.”

San Diego City Council President Todd Gloria said he has been in close contact with Target representatives. He said the corporation has promised it does not plan to alter the architecture or footprint of the existing property. Any improvements will be focused on the interior of the store.

Gloria said drawings of the new store are expected to be completed in November. The retailer promised the council president it would attend neighborhood meetings to share the plans.