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Downtown Tampa’s biggest retail wish: Target, survey says

Downtown workers and residents put the store ahead of Trader Joe’s and Publix on their neighborhood wishlist.
March 18, 2020 photo shows a view of the Target store in Annapolis, Md. Target plans to open between 30 and 40 stores in 2021, including some in dense urban centers.
March 18, 2020 photo shows a view of the Target store in Annapolis, Md. Target plans to open between 30 and 40 stores in 2021, including some in dense urban centers. [ SUSAN WALSH | AP ]
Published Apr. 6
Updated Apr. 6

The store Tampa residents most want to see downtown: Target.

So say the results of a new survey compiled by the Tampa Downtown Partnership as part of its biennial look at the lives of downtown residents and workers.

Conducted every other year since 2008, the survey seeks to determine how downtown residents feel about their neighborhood and what they’d like to see come of it. More than 1,400 people responded in 2020.

When asked what retail store they’d most like to see downtown, Target was the overwhelming top choice with 40 percent of the vote. Target was followed by Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods at 5 percent, Publix at 4 percent, Costco and Walmart at 3 percent and Aldi at 2 percent.

Overall, 46 percent of respondents signaled that retail was the best of all the big-box options they’d like to see downtown. After that: Grocery stores (17 percent), department stores (4 percent), restaurants (3 percent) and drugstores (2 percent). Thirty-three percent said they wouldn’t want to see any big-box stores come downtown at all.

Related: Coronavirus pandemic clouds future for Tampa Bay's downtowns

Target has not announced plans to open a store in downtown Tampa, but it’s not that far-fetched a concept. The company’s most recent annual report, filed last month, outlined plans to open 30 to 40 stores in 2021, including a number of smaller-format locations in dense urban centers and college campuses.

One destination that could make sense for a large retail establishment is Water Street Tampa, the $3.5 billion mega-development taking shape in the Channelside area. One apartment building already plans to open a ground-level grocery concept called GreenWise by Publix later this year.

Related: Water Street Tampa unveils new looks at first residential complex, Heron

The Tampa Downtown Partnership’s full Downtown Worker and Resident Survey will be released this week.