Planners of a proposed Target store to be built next to the Hilldale Shopping Center on the West Side got an earful Monday night at a neighborhood meeting that drew a crowd of 300 concerned residents to the Covenant Presbyterian Church.

Developers want to build the store at University and Hilldale avenues, where currently a large hole languishes - the remnants of a scrapped Whole Foods store project.

Designs for the store still were very preliminary, organizers said, but renderings called for a two-level facility with underground parking for about 160 470 cars. It would be structured differently from Madison's other two Target stores, developers said, following the pattern of more urban stores.

"You can't just plunk a store down in the middle of (a community) and think it's going to be right," design project manager Mary Shaffer said.

The plan for two levels would allow the store to take up 5.45 acres, about half that of a typical Target, developers said. It would have about 155,000 square feet of store space and would employ between 150 and 200 mostly hourly workers, developers said.

Vocal audience members at times threatened to derail the presentation. When the time for audience questions arrived, dozens lined up.

"I did not purchase my house in this neighborhood so I could live next to a box," said one woman, her voice cracking with emotion.

Others concerns included that employees should be paid a living wage, that American-made products should take precedence over those made in China and that traffic flow and pedestrian safety plans were unrealistic for elderly residents near the site.

"Yeah, it stinks looking at this giant hole in the ground," said 15-year neighborhood resident David Anderson. "But before you jump on the Target bandwagon there's a lot of questions that need to be answered."

Developers plan to deliver preliminary site plans and building elevations to the Urban Design Commission on Oct. 28, and hope to open the store by October 2011.

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