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Blumenfeld Development Group Statement on Closing of Target at East River Plaza

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Blumenfeld Development Group Statement on Closing of Target at East River Plaza

Target’s suggestion that crime is the reason for its decision to leave the East River Plaza is a sweeping and unfair characterization of our center and the entire East Harlem community. And, to suggest that the safety of their employees and customers is threatened in East Harlem is an insult to everyone who is committed to this community.

In truth, they have made a deliberate business decision as evidenced by their actions, opening some 13 Targets across Manhattan with one being proposed for a location just blocks away from East River Plaza.

If Target expects to be a meaningful presence in any community, they need to be honest with themselves, as well as those who decide whether to spend their family dollars at a Target store.

While “organized retail crime” has become an issue across the nation, to suggest that this type of crime compelled them to close at East River Plaza can’t be substantiated by police data, by personal experience, or by the shopping experience of tens of thousands of East Harlem residents who have been loyal customers for years.

“Organized retail crime” needs to be addressed as it harms the fabric of every retail center (corridor) in the city, but it should not be used as an excuse by Target to mask business decisions designed to shift to a smaller store format or justify losses. Doing so, libels the hard-working East Harlem community that takes pride in celebrating its diversity and resilience. 

Target needs to apologize, and failing that, at the very least correct the narrative. This was a business decision. There is no need to paint an entire community as unsafe to justify a different business model or vindicate an overly aggressive expansion plan. 

Diana Ayala, Deputy Speaker of the New York City Council.

“While it's regrettable that Target has decided to close its East Harlem location, it's crucial to clarify that their choice is solely based on economic considerations rather than the public safety narrative they have chosen to propagate. While theft is an issue faced by many stores nationwide, it's not unique to East Harlem. I am disheartened by their decision, as it unintentionally perpetuates stereotypes that unfairly portray minority communities like East Harlem as unsafe.”


Melissa Mark Viverito, District Leader, Former NYC Council Speaker and Council Member, District 8.

“As a former Speaker of the New York City Council, I am concerned about Target’s message regarding the state of our city. However, as a former council member representing East Harlem, and a resident, I am offended by the way it is portraying my community. I worked with East River Plaza when it first opened to ensure that local residents had job opportunities and our community, as a whole, received the benefits associated with Target coming into the neighborhood.  I question their motivation and reject their tactic of maligning our community as a means to rationalize a decision not based on facts. Undermining and negating the collective investment that we have made in our community, in our businesses and in our future is deplorable and completely unacceptable. "


Vincent Torres, Executive Director, Positive Workforce

“For over 30 years, Positive Workforce has worked to uplift East Harlem residents with job and training opportunities.  We worked with Blumenfeld Development Group to develop East River Plaza providing jobs for the local community in the local community.  Target’s decision to close the store that we helped build is sad news.  But, Target’s offensive message that East Harlem is unsafe threatens to demolish everything that we have done to improve the economic strength of our community.  It cannot be tolerated.”