Prefumo Creek Commons, the new shopping center on Los Osos Valley Road, has become the “target” of local criticism, although it has only been open a week.
“I’m sure it will take away from downtown businesses,” San Luis Obispo resident Savannah Thrussell said. “But I still love Target.”
The new shopping center, owned by Madonna Enterprises, currently includes only two stores — Target and the MacSuperstore. AT&T Wireless is said to open in October, and Olive Garden and Dick’s Sporting Goods soon as well, Madonna spokesman Clint Pearce said.
The MacSuperstore will be the only locally-owned business in the shopping center.
The Prefumo Creek Commons, which has approximately 800 parking spots, cost approximately $32 million to develop, Pearce said.
Madonna Enterprises also owns Irish Hills Plaza, with retailers such as Old Navy, PetSmart, BevMo!, New Frontiers, SLO Grind and Office Max across Los Osos Valley Road from the Commons he said.
“We’ve received a lot of positive feedback from the community about both Irish Hills Plaza and Prefumo Creek Commons,” he said.
Some members of the community, however, are not supportive of the shopping centers.
With the opening of large chain stores, some are concerned about the preservation of the downtown area.
Vangeli Evangelopoulos, a San Luis Obispo resident, said the centers might have a negative effect on local business.
“I think it’s going to pose a challenge for downtown businesses,” she said.
Evangelopoulos also said that since the Target complex parking is free, it makes shopping there more desirable.
“The city should reconsider the fee increase,” he said. “Target parking is free, and shopping there is more convenient, discouraging locals from shopping downtown.”
In addition to free parking, the Prefumo Creek Commons offers several parking features for customers.
“We have 19 spaces reserved for fuel-efficient vehicles,” Pearce said. “We have six or seven charging stations for electric cars.”
Ernie Dalidio, owner of the now-developed farmland housing, said the commons struggled for the right to build a shopping center. After long negotiations with the city over the land’s future, county voters eventually approved Dalidio’s right to develop his land through Measure J, which became final in 2009.
Prior to Target’s opening last week, residents had to drive to Paso Robles or Santa Maria to shop at a Target.
The new 140,000-square-foot store is the largest commercial store allowable on the property under the restrictions of Measure J.
The shopping center was restricted to build in accommodation with several other guidelines, including a half-acre park at an edge of the project for allowing shoppers the opportunity to enjoy the nearby Prefumo Creek, Pearce said.
“We have a lot of energy-efficient designs incorporated into the center,” he said.
Pearce said, for example, the Dick’s Sporting Goods will have solar panels installed on its roof, which will supply the power for the lights in the parking lot.
“We also have the most storm water friendly project in the area,” Pearce said.
With the development of such a large shopping center, the city had to accommodate by constructing street entrances on Los Osos Valley Road.
“Everyone’s concerned about traffic,” Pearce said. “We’ve done everything we can to make that less of a problem.”
Some residents said they are beyond excited for the products that Target carries and the convenience of in-town box store shopping.
“It’ll stop me from driving to Walmart to get all my stuff,” Christine Johnson, a San Luis Obispo resident, said. “I freaking love Target.”
The San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce projects the shopping center will bring $500,000 to $600,000 to the local economy, said chamber spokesperson Grace Allen.
Marilyn Shernak of San Luis Obispo said she is hopeful the shopping center will bring in money for the local economy.
“It will mean more jobs,” Shernak said. “It will be good for the economy.”
One resident said she wants to focus on spending her money suporting local businesses.
“I’ve weened myself off Target since moving here,” said San Luis Obispo local Ruth Soderlund. “Now I’m going to have to try to patron local businesses and limit my Target buying to cat food.”