Monday, October 26, 2009

Here's An Idea: Ask Target To Sponsor The Wilson Red Line L Station

A reader suggests:

"I would like to see if we can use the power of the followers of the Uptown Update to suggest to Target that they should sponsor the Wilson Red Line stop. I would think that Target would like to have its surrounding areas cleaned up. I think it would send a message that Target will become a positive influence in the community. With all the controversy over its presence, I would think this initiative would ease some tension. The Cubs sponsored the Sheridan L stop and it has improved greatly."

And today we read in the Sun-Times:

"A CTA spokeswoman confirmed that the transit authority is in talks with the computer and iPhone behemoth [Apple] about a deal that could net the cash-strapped CTA as much as $4 million in funding from Apple to pay for an upgrade of the run-down subway station at North and Clybourn, which is adjacent to an Apple retail store now under construction and expected to open next year."

So why not? It's worth a try. And it's certainly a better than Ald. Shiller's/CTA's estimate of a "proposed update" to the stop by 2014. If you think it's a good idea, drop a line or a phone call to Target. The form is here.


  1. The Reader's report on "The Shadow Budget" last week ought to point out the obvious.

    What gets done in Chicago is done behind closed doors by friends of the Mayor or appointees of the Mayor. The people might get lucky and share a mutual demand for action that requires a budget that has already been appropriated by the shadow government.

    It really doesn't make any sense to watch commercial space in stations lie idle, commercial vendors offer to clean stations at no cost to tax payers, while Jones Lang LaSalle owns the contract to market the available commercial spaces at CTA stations.

    The City will throw millions of dollars at firms to keep the Sears Tower leased, but it can't contract a commercial vendor that has offered to clean marble for free?

  2. Done.

    Don't forget to mention how a station voted the worst in Chicago might adversely affect their profitability on the immediate level; but, going forward (since the city is historically uninterested in doing anything about this sagging transportation hub).

    I know a lot of people who don't come to Uptown simply due to the fact that they'd have to brave the Wilson stop.

  3. I was more than happy to write an email to Target with this fantastic suggestion. Hopefully we'll have a huge number of residents that will do the same.

    Target needs to hear our voices!!

  4. Love the idea. I just submitted a request, too... as I said in my e-mail, it would absolutely be in Target's interests to do this! They could endear themselves to their new neighbors, vastly improve the experience of people who use the el to come shop at their store, and remind the many thousands of people who pass by or through that stop every day that Target is right next to the stop. Seems like it would be money well spent.

  5. Sent. I pointed out that it was the "crustiest" station and that this would be a great way to give back to the community.

  6. If you're in need of ideas, here's my message:


    There is a Target Store being built and advertised to open sometime in 2010 near my home. While I welcome the store with open arms, I know that brand and image are important to Target Corporation. Unfortunately, the closest CTA train stop, Wilson, is in disrepair and was recently voted "worst L stop" by Tribune Company's Redeye readers.

    I would love to see Target take a strong interest in this L stop, not only for their own sake, but also that of the community's. Aside from generally cleaning and repairing the station, other companies have forged agreements with the Chicago Transit Authority to receive naming and advertising rights (see in exchange for capital improvements.

    Even if this not an agreement that Target seeks, it would still be in their interest to take a strong position in cleaning up this station - many riders avoid it for a multitude of reasons; I would much prefer they flock to it for the cleanliness and fine commercial spaces.


  7. I've long thought the city should be utilizing the resources of the private sector to build up these stations around the city. Nothing would clean them up than having a company's reputation depend on how well they stack up. Obviously, I don't think our stops should be named "Target stop" or anything but there are a lot of goodies the city can offer that will benefit all. This looks to be gaining steam elsewhere in the city as well. Check out Apple at the Clybourn station in the Chicagoist today:

  8. I understand Target will be receiving tax benefits for decades to come; perhaps some of that money they're not going to pay in taxes could be diverted to community needs. Of course, one could see how Target might have been led to believe this amazing "transit oriented" green development built on land given by the local transit agency, would have had a transit terminal built into the design. Wrong.

  9. Excellent suggestion. I've sent a letter myself. Here's a link to more info on the Apple/CTA deal . . . word is out, which could give us leverage:

  10. This is a response that I just received from Target after sending my encouragement of their 'sponsoring' the Wilson Stop. This does sound sort of 'canned', but I'm hoping it isn't!


    We appreciate the time you've taken to share your thoughts and feelings about our future Chicago Wilson Yard store. At Target, our first priority is providing safe and secure environments for our guests and team members.

    When developing new stores, we work closely with local community leaders, including law enforcement, to ensure the safety and security of our stores and the surrounding community. We have a long-standing partnership with the Chicago Police Department and support a variety of public safety initiatives that help enhance the greater Chicago community. Your comments are important to us and we'll be sure to share your comments with our Real Estate team.

    Thanks for writing.


    Target Guest Relations
    [THREAD ID:1-76K6KU]

  11. I received the same message (to a T). Well hopefully "Erin" will at the very least notice the influx of e-mails.

  12. Done. Thanks for the suggestion! Also at lease there is a response specific to Chicago and Wilson Yard. We were supposed to be renovated years ago, I thought. Hope this works.

  13. BRILLIANT idea!!! It makes so much sense.

  14. If Target declines perhaps one of the local street gangs could sponsor the station.

    "The Gangster Disciples Welcome You to Uptown"

    "The Wilson Stop Brought to You by the Conservative Vice Lords"

    To announce that a train is coming recordings of gunshots can ring out.

    One gunshot for a train from downtown and two gunshots for a train from the north.

    It's just a thought.

    I'm sure we can work out the details later.

    Perhaps JPUSA could sponsor a bus enclosure along Wilson. It would be plastered with Shiller campaign signs and as you walked into the enclosure the sounds of spankings would be heard.

    Again, the details and spankings can be worked out later.

  15. E-mail submitted. This is exactly the kind of active involvement we need as a community.

  16. Under the Subject drop-down, I chose "Community Involvement," which I think must account for the fact that my canned response was a bit different than the ones noted above. Their response was:

    Target is always looking for unique and exciting projects that support our image or give back to the communities we serve. It's great to hear you're interested in us supporting a remake of the train in Chicago.

    We sponsor events that increase awareness of our store, promote Target brand loyalty with current guests and attract new guests. Additionally, the event or group seeking sponsorship must generally meet specific guidelines within the arts, education and the family.

    For more information, please call our automated Sponsorship Hotline at (612) 696-6000. We've recorded a special message for you with detailed information about eligibility requirements and how to submit your request directly to Target.

    Thanks for shopping with us. We look forward to hearing from you soon!


    Target Guest Relations

    I then called the number, and my "special message" encouraged me to submit a proposal to Target with the following guidelines:

    - No more than 2 pages
    - Explanation of "event"
    - Timing and location
    - What we're requesting / what we will provide Target in exchange for the request
    - Size and demographic information about our audience
    - Other companies involved and the level of their involvement
    - Contact information

    The e-mail they listed was:

    They said there was a 2-3 month review process for all proposals.

    What do you guys think, is it worth putting together a more detailed proposal and passing it around for signatures?

  17. A letter or e-mail to the CTA, including Rich Rodriguez as a recipient would be a good idea.