A representative of Target is expected at the next meeting of the Ramona planning group to talk about the possibility of a Target store on state Route 67 property that once housed a chicken ranch.
During the announcement part of the Ramona Community Planning Group meeting this month, Chairman Helene Radzik said Target and Wal-Mart have expressed an interest in Ramona. Target is looking at the SR-67 location, and Wal-Mart was interested in talking to the school district about the 40 acres of school district land behind Ramona High and Olive Peirce Middle schools, she said.
“They’re both interested in coming up here,” said Radzik. “I don’t know if one’s going to supercede the other.
“It looks as if that is an area we are very interested in and we are exploring opportunities,” Delia McLinden with Target Communications told the Sentinel, “but right now it would be premature to confirm any details.”
Once Target purchases real estate, it usually takes a year to build a store, she said.
Target “gave me the impression that they’re already discussing purchasing that property, but they will be here next month with a preliminary proposal idea to get feedback from us,” said Radzik, referring to the planners’ Nov. 6 meeting.
She said she talked to both retailers about “the importance of community character in anything that comes into this community.”
Because neither item was on the agenda, the group could not discuss them, per the state’s open meeting law.
“That’s news to me,” Dr. Robert Graeff, superintendent of Ramona schools, said of Wal-Mart’s reported interest in school district property.
Nelson “Mac” MacWilliams, executive director of the Ramona Chamber of Commerce, said a Target representative doing a market analysis of the area came to the chamber office about two years ago. He told MacWilliams he was hired “to see if it was feasible.”
A Wal-Mart representative was in the chamber office about two months ago asking demographics-related questions, said MacWilliams.
Sonic drive-in burger restaurant also considered a Ramona location, but changed its mind after learning about the county’s transportation impact fee (TIF), added MacWilliams.
Many times people coming to the chamber for market analysis information think Ramona is a city, noted MacWilliams.
“They’re not aware we’re governed by the county,” he said.
Corporations such as Target and Wal-Mart look at communities with a population of 50,000-plus, added MacWilliams.
“We’re always looking for new opportunities for San Diego County,” said John Mendez, Wal-Mart’s Southern California public affairs spokesperson.
But, he added, there is “nothing in the works in Ramona.”