EAST HARLEM, Manhattan (WABC) -- Target is here to stay... so they say.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams made the announcement on Thursday after the company said its store in East Harlem would be closing for good at the end of the month.
Target blamed the closure on a rash of thefts and safety concerns, but just when people thought the company was abandoning the neighborhood altogether, Eyewitness News learned a store is moving into a new location in Central Harlem.
According to officials, it will be opening on the bustling West 125th Street near Lenox Avenue, an area on the road to economic growth.
"I think the stakes on that Target opening now are higher now that we're losing the big sight on 116th Street," Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine said.
In a statement, Target explained why it made the difficult decision to shutter the East Harlem store and eight others on the West Coast, saying in part that "theft and organized retail crime are threatening the safety of our teams and guests... We can only be successful if the working and shopping environment is safe for all."
Shoppers in East Harlem say it's a loss for the community, while people at the upcoming location told Eyewitness News that they welcome a new Target.
"It is going to be convenient. Everybody could come here," Dorin Matthews said.
But Matthews says shoplifting will continue to be an issue.
"That's what's going to knock the Target out," Matthews said. "If they don't take care of the people that's out here right now. We have a serious issue with the addicts here on 25th Street."
Eyewitness News reporter Crystal Cranmore found out that so far this year, shoplifting is actually higher where the new Target will go, with 532 larceny arrests compared to 432 in the East River Plaza area.
"I think what we're doing to focus on the opioid crisis, I think is directly related to the shoplifting challenges and fentanyl is really a dangerous new trend that is leading more people into addiction," Levine said. "And some of them are turning to shoplifting."
Across the city, the Manhattan district attorney says shoplifting cases are down 14%.
The mayor promised to crack down on thieves as leaders work to find a new tenant for the East River Plaza location.
"We have to find another store to fit it because it's employment," Mayor Eric Adams said. "Those shoplifters that are repeated offenders need to be dealt with so they don't take away the quality of life of our community."