For close to a year, people have been wondering what impact the stuffing of a miniature Target store into a portion of the venerable Sullivan Center (33 South State Street) would have on the building. As the store’s opening date approaches, we can see that it’s not that bad.
There was a lot of concern in the neighborhood about Target’s renovation of the former Carson Pierie Scott space. Some of it justified, like those who worried that a garish red bullseye would hang on Louis Sullivan’s delicate iron facade (There isn’t one). And some of it unjustified, like one man who protested the name of the chain cafe in the store (“Do you realize that Pret a Manger means ‘ready to eat?!’ Do you?!”) as if he is the only person in the world who can read French.
It looks like much of the ceiling detail has not only been kept, but rehabilitated. The facade is unscathed, and in fact looks better then it did when Carson’s was inside. It’s nice to see the old awnings illuminated once again. And the feared Target bullseye is kept safely behind the curved glass of the building’s famous State and Madison entrance.
That’s not to say that the changes have been subtle. Red, white, and black is a heck of an eye-catching color scheme. And even though it’s recessed inside the building, that illuminated Target logo is clearly visible at least as far down the street as Saint Peter’s in the Loop (110 West Madison Street).
But once completed in a few weeks, it looks like the CityTarget will be a welcome addition to the neighborhood, not only for filling in vacant space on State Street, but for returning an old retail war horse to a useful life.