When Target Corp. announced in 2005 that it would significantly expand its Brooklyn Park campus, some real estate experts worried the retailer's commitment to downtown Minneapolis was waning.

I think we can safely rule that out now.

The Minneapolis-based retailer confirmed Thursday that it signed a new lease to occupy all of the office space at 50 S. 10th Street, across the street from its corporate headquarters at 1000 Nicollet Mall.

Under its new lease with Franklin Street Properties Corp., the company will grab another 189,000 square feet in addition to the 259,000 square feet it already occupies. The lease, which expires in 2030, doesn't cover the first and second floors of the property.

"Target has been headquartered in Minneapolis for nearly 50 years and is pleased to have identified additional space that can accommodate our ongoing growth and expansion," spokeswoman Molly Snyder wrote in an e-mail.

Target has been gradually strengthening its presence in downtown Minneapolis.

Last September, the company purchased what some developers consider to be the crown jewel of developable downtown real estate: the 10th and Nicollet sites  now home to vacant, low-lying buildings at 81 S. 10th St., 87 S. 10th St. and 1001 Nicollet Mall. The deal is worth an estimated $11 million to $13 million.

Target had also previously bought the former Church of Scientology building at 1013 Nicollet Mall for $3 million. And of course, there's a little thing called Target Field.

Target's 10,000-or-so downtown employees are scattered throughout downtown -- at its headquarters, at City Center at 33 S. 6th St., in the former Crate and Barrel store at 9th and Nicollet and in the former Retek tower, also on Nicollet Mall. The company has a two-story urban store at 9th and Nicollet Mall, as well.

Target's real estate ambitions have buoyed the spirits of downtown property owners. Case in point: Franklin Street Properties said it would invest about $106.2 million into the 50 S. 10th Street property, including $30 million "for lender-approved tenant improvement costs, leasing commissions, and other incentives necessary to lease space at the property."

"We believe that it is one of the best properties in the Minneapolis central business district and the decision by Target Corporation to maintain such a significant, long-term presence at the property further reinforces our belief," Franklin Street Properties CEO George Carter said in a statement.
 

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