070308harlemtarget.jpgRendering of East River Plaza Target courtesy Target.

"Everyone is super excited about the Target." Everyone! Or at least real estate players like Jessica Armstead of the Corcoran Group, who predicts that the Target store finally coming to fruition in East Harlem will “totally change” the area’s lagging pace of gentrification. "It appeals to everyone," she tells the Sun. "You go in to get toothpaste and come out with three bags. It's amazing." Armstead is already luring condo buyers into East Harlem with the amazing, exciting shopping utopia to arrive any year now.

Currently scheduled to open in October 2009, the store is part of the perennially delayed East River Plaza shopping complex, which will cluster other exciting big box stores such as Best Buy, Marshalls and Home Depot – unless that company decides to sublet its 110,000 space to Costco. The Harlem Target (the first in Manhattan) will join a growing Target army in New York City, with seven currently open and two others under construction in the Bronx and Flushing, Queens. To help inspire shoppers to stimulate the national economy, the Harlem store’s façade will be wrapped in a steel mesh American flag.

And those who recall how the controversy surrounding the Red Hook IKEA tended to split along class lines know how this will play out: Kenneth Knuckles, president of the Empowerment Zone Development Corp., is framing the $440 million project as a chance to provide 2,000 full and part-time jobs to East Harlem residents, who will then “take money they've earned and spend it in the community.” But NIMBY brownstone owner (and architect) Raymond Plumey predicts terrible traffic and pollution from consumers flocking to the amazing 485,000-square-foot shopping center, whenever it finally opens.