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Dear LAist: Why's There That Half-Finished Target At Sunset And Western In Hollywood?

A screenshot of the unfinished Target at Sunset and Western. (Via Google Maps)
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Target's been trying to build a new store on the corner of Sunset and Western for years, eyeing the location in 2010 and getting their plans approved in 2012. They even started and completed much of the construction -- but a legal challenge, which they lost, put construction on hold.

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We've had multiple readers ask us about the half-finished structure, standing silently, waiting for an ending that refuses to come.

Target wants it, the city of Los Angeles wants it -- but there are neighborhood associations that don't. They've successfully kept it in limbo so far. It's become such a local landmark in its desolate state that it even has an unofficial Twitter account, @TargetHusk.

Hope of a Target in our time is still alive -- the city is heading back to court yet again as part of the latest appeal on Tuesday. But why is it there? What's going on?

Before construction, Target submitted two plans to the city: one that met the 35-foot height restriction in place in the neighborhood, and another larger one that didn't. The City Council granted variances allowing for the 74-foot, three-story complex, anchored by a Super Target.

The La Mirada Neighborhood Association sued to block the project, twice, and was joined by Citizens Coalition Los Angeles.

Some of the key questions behind the case:

  • Whether the city violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) by not preparing a supplemental environmental impact report
  • Whether allowing a three-story building here is a kind of spot zoning that's against the law

The city maintains that the answer to both of those questions is "no," but they've lost that argument in court so far.

Those opposed to the construction of this Target say the city didn't follow environmental regulations -- and that it was due to then-City Councilman Eric Garcetti trying to avoid limiting density in the area.

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"Target could have built the store which it wanted about a decade ago," Richard Lee Abrams with Citizens Coalition told LAist in an email. "The sole problem was Garcetti's insistence that the store be illegal."

Abrams also argued that Target won't break with Mayor Garcetti due to the politics involved.

They note that Target's original plans were expanded at Garcetti's urging. The City Council tried to rezone the area in 2016 to allow the Target to move forward -- but as we've discussed, that plan remains in litigation.

"We appreciate the city's continued support for Target in our ongoing efforts to pursue a store in Hollywood on Sunset Boulevard," a Target spokesperson told LAist in a statement, "and we thank the community for its patience as we continue to work toward resuming construction."

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