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Historic Carson's building well-served by new downtown Target store

One of State Street’s bright spots has been the reuse of the former Carson Pirie Scott flagship store. Now, five years after Carson’s departure, a new CityTarget store opens in the historic space.

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One of State Street’s bright spots has been the reuse of the former Carson Pirie Scott flagship store.

Joseph Freed & Associates restored the giant old retail landmark, designed by Louis Sullivan, converting the building into offices, a restaurant and retail. And now, five years after Carson’s departure, a new CityTarget store opens Wednesday in the historic space.

Design-wise, it is a tricky thing bringing the retailer — and its famous red bull’s-eye logo signage and color scheme — into one of the world’s most celebrated pieces of architecture. But the marriage seems pretty good so far. The Target logo in the rotunda’s second-story window is just the right size.The store looks bright and inviting and the signage is visible but doesn’t overwhelm the building.

Given the cast-iron storefront restoration by Harboe Architects returned the original proportions to the shop windows, it’s good to see the CityTarget take advantage of all that glass to allow passersby to look deep into the store — rather into just a window display box:

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City landmarks officials should also be commended for standing up for the 1899 masterpiece and insuring the right balance between the old and the new.

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CityTarget, a new concept aimed at urban areas, is about two-thirds the size of the typical big-box Target. Stores also open today in Los Angeles and Seattle — all in existing buildings.

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