A rendering of the planned College Park store on Route 1. (Courtesy Target)
A rendering of the planned College Park store on Route 1. (Courtesy Target)

The newest format Target store — a mini, convenience-oriented version called TargetExpress — will open on Baltimore Avenue in College Park this fall.

CA Ventures, a Chicago-based real estate firm that purchased the former Maryland Book Exchange, has been turning the property into a mixed-use development featuring apartments above new shops and retail.

Target will open a 14,617-square-foot TargetExpress there later this summer, hopefully before University of Maryland students return from summer break. Though the store will be only about one-tenth the size of the average Target, it will feature a grocery section plus health, beauty and household products.

It will be one of the first TargetExpress stores in the nation. There are three right now: one in Minneapolis, near Target headquarters, and two others that opened last week in the Bay Area. The company plans to open eight total in 2015, including locations in San Diego, Chicago, the Bay Area and another in the Washington area besides College Park.

The smaller stores are aimed at being able to serve Target customers as they move into “densely populated areas that Target wasn’t traditionally a part of,” said company spokeswoman Erika Winkels. Other big box stores, such as Wal-Mart, and grocery stores including Wegmans and Whole Foods Market, have been experimenting with smaller store designs as well.

“We basically said, look, we are seeing guests move to urban areas. We are seeing this influx of the population … so what we’re doing is really responding to that guest shift,” Winkels said.

The planner interior of TargetExpress. (Courtesy Target)
The planned interior of TargetExpress. (Courtesy Target)

The developer, David A. Israel, senior vice president at CA Ventures, said he visited the store in Minneapolis before leasing the College Park space to Target.

“The store was bustling with activity and the students loved the convenience of being able to grab everyday essentials and shop for their groceries with ease,” he said. “Having a TargetExpress in our building will be a great amenity for University of Maryland students and residents in the surrounding neighborhood.”

[Related: Can College Park ever become a good college town?]

Since opening its first store in the District, in the Columbia Heights neighborhood in 2008, Target has been poking around in search of other spaces in urban neighborhoods.

It considered properties downtown, at a new shopping center in Northeast, at the Shops at Georgetown Park and around Nationals Park, but didn’t open any stores.

In College Park, TargetExpress will be part of an effort by the university and city officials to bring new shops, entertainment and restaurants to Route 1 and the neighborhoods surrounding the campus.

Through a private foundation, the university has bought or leased $20 million of property between campus and the center of town.

Follow Jonathan O’Connell on Twitter: @oconnellpostbiz