A key corner on Nicollet Mall has been sold to a familiar name: Target Corp.

The Minneapolis-based cheap chic retailer has expanded its real estate empire along the city's signature thoroughfare, nabbing parcels at 10th Street just across from its headquarters.

The three parcels had been under the control of a partnership called 10th & Nicollet LLC, which includes United Properties, owned by the Pohlad family, and Pratt Ordway Properties of Vadnais Heights.

While terms of the deal were not disclosed, one downtown real estate expert said the property likely brought a price of $11 million to $13 million.

Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder confirmed the purchase but said there are no immediate plans for the site. The retailer "is always looking to provide new opportunities to support Target's long-term growth," she said.

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.

Considered by some developers to be the crown jewel of developable downtown real estate, the 10th and Nicollet sites are now home to vacant, low-lying buildings at 81 S. 10th St., 87 S. 10th St. and 1001 Nicollet Mall.

Previous plans to redevelop the site -- including a condominium tower and a mixed-use tower including office and retail space -- never reached fruition in a tough economy.

Even though Target says it has no immediate plans, downtown boosters cheered the news. "It's a blessing for downtown to have the corporate headquarters of one of the world's most-successful retailers downtown," said Sam Grabarski, president and CEO of the Minneapolis Downtown Council. "Target's 10,000 employees certainly amplify the company's economic importance to downtown."

Bill Katter, senior vice president of investments and developments for United Properties, said in a statement that the sale is a "desirable outcome for the partnership." He added that the deal will prove "a tremendous positive for downtown Minneapolis."

Target already purchased the former Church of Scientology building at 1013 Nicollet Mall for $3 million. Meanwhile, Pratt Ordway will maintain ownership of the adjacent Handicraft Guild building at 1004 Marquette Av. and has asked United Properties to help redevelop that site.

Star Tribune staff writers Thomas Lee and Jennifer Bjorhus contributed to this report. Janet Moore • 612-673-7752