San Francisco officials ready to show plans for Target at Metreon 

Forget golden shovels — bring on the sledgehammers.

That’s the tool city officials will wield for a groundbreaking ceremony and press conference today, set to detail the Westfield Group’s planned revamp of the struggling downtown Metreon building.

Target — the big-box retailer looking to unveil its smaller urban format — has committed to being the building’s anchor tenant at Fourth and Mission streets, and it plans to open for business in late 2012.

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and other city officials, along with company officials from Westfield and Target, are expected to announce the building’s other major tenants, along with specifics about the structural changes and local construction job opportunities. The AMC Loews Metreon 16, a current tenant, also will reveal renovation plans.

Westfield’s facelift of the 85,000-square-foot center will begin with the first floor. After that is complete, Target will move into the second story. The project is expected to create 600 construction jobs and 700 new Target employees, according to a news release in December from the Mayor’s Office.

“This isn’t Target-specific, because we won’t be starting for a few more months,” said Donna Egan, a spokeswoman for the retail chain. “But the mayor wanted to do something for the Metreon.”

Metreon opened in 1999, when it was anchored by a Sony store designed to make it a haven for gamers. But Sony pulled out of the building a few years later, and city planners have since been seeking a new model for the heavily trafficked area near Moscone Center and Yerba Buena Gardens.

Target and other chains are beginning to enter urban markets, which are widely regarded as the last frontier in big-box retail. The Minneapolis-based company, which has 1,700 locations nationwide, also has plans for the small-format stores in Los Angeles, Seattle and Chicago.

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