The Dramatic Impact of Target Closing Its Downtown SF Location

This week, Target announced the closing of its iconic downtown location at the Metreon City Center due to overwhelming shoplifting, costing the retailer at least $25,000 a day in revenue loss. This is a similar story we’ve heard from Walgreens locations across the city, closing down several stores that were plagued by theft.  

Sadly, Mayor Breed and the Board of Supervisors state these closings are related to demographic shifts and not theft alone.  According to recent reports, crimes in these stores had gone down. 

What they fail to understand or fail to address is that stores are no longer reporting thefts because they know it’s a waste of time. It’s been publicized that San Francisco police have been instructed not to criminalize thefts valued at $1,000 or less.  This policy single-handedly skyrocketed car break-ins, home invasions and store thefts to all-time historical highs.  Yet, no discussions have been made to reverse this policy.

In the case of Walgreens, most of their locations that are closing still have lease obligations of at least five years. So, even when Walgreens closes these locations, they must still pay rent. Therefore, these store closures must have been the result of truly extraordinary loss in order for them to take such drastic action.

With Target now closing in the Metreon City Center, we’re going to see a ripple effect that could have a negative impact on all remaining stores nearby. The AMC theatre is already on life support while all of the surrounding restaurants in and around the center are suffering with the continued closing of offices. Without Target, these businesses will lose a significant amount of their customer base. 

When Target moved into the Metreon City Center years ago, it saved the center. Metreon was originally built as a “tech concept” shopping center, with the intention of stores within the center to sell “the future of technology” in homes and offices. When that concept failed, Metreon went dark until Target opened.

Since Target moved in, we had more residential units built in and around the South of Market district. This location also served many of our underserved residents in the surrounding community.   

If Target does close, then the viability of the entire Metreon City Center is at stake. Efforts to get more people to live in the South of Market will be hindered by less viable businesses available to residents. It will also hurt the parking revenue across the street at the 4th and 5th Mission Street garage.  This will be a complete disaster. 

Our City leadership needs to wake up and take responsibility to stop this wave of crime targeting our retailers. We need to rethink the $1,000 and below policy and instead enforce our laws and make sure justice is served.  Most immediately, our City officials should meet with Target to find a way to halt the closure of this location.  This cannot happen! The city needs to do whatever it takes to keep them open.

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