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Publish Date: 4/29/2005

Architect aims to hit bull’s-eye with new Target


LONGMONT — When Target store architect Tom Lasley visited the city a few months ago before designing a new SuperTarget here, he asked city planners for a list of key buildings he should view.

“I saw an old cannery, a beet factory, the new museum,” said Lasley, based in Target’s hometown of Minneapolis. “We want to make sure we have our ears open.”

Lasley said the use of brick, steel and sandstone in Longmont inspired him to incorporate the same elements for the proposed store. In other cities, planners and officials value different materials and architectural elements, he said.

“In Westminster, they really wanted pointed towers,” Lasley said. “I went back and forth with them for three weeks, but they got pointed towers.”

Store officials are hoping to build a SuperTarget just west of the current Longmont facility, eventually knocking that one down to make room for parking spaces. The new store would offer groceries in addition to an expanded selection of clothing, furniture and other merchandise.

As part of the design process, officials held a community meeting Thursday evening to solicit suggestions from city residents. Four residents showed up, including Councilman Doug Brown, Planning and Zoning Commissioner Terri Musser and the manager of the nearby ShopKo.

Musser said she will recuse herself from discussion of the store’s plans when they arrive before the planning commission. She said she was willing to do so in exchange for offering Target officials her suggestions early in the process.

Musser, a Boulder-based transportation planner, said she wants to see the store make the Hover Street and Nelson Road area more accommodating to pedestrians.

“This is status-quo big-box development,” Musser said. “It makes it hard to walk from one store to another.”

Lasley and other Target officials acknowledged concerns about traffic in the area, and said a soon-to-be-completed study should shed light on whether new traffic lights or intersection designs are needed in the area.

Lasley said he would take home with him a copy of the city’s new multimodal transportation plan, which spells out how the city wants to make travel better for pedestrians and cyclists.

“It is not a walkable environment right now,” Lasley said of Nelson Road near Dry Creek Drive. He said he would use the city’s plan and the store’s transportation study to examine ways to improve the area.

Target officials hope to begin construction of the store late this summer and have it open in late 2006 or early 2007. They expect to submit their official plans to the city in mid-May. The Longmont City Council will likely have to approve portions of the proposal.

Trevor Hughes can be reached at 303-684-5220, or by e-mail at thughes@times-call.com.

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