City Still Waiting on IKEA to Make Decision, says Mayor
Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone said if IKEA decides not to build in Assembly Square, it won't be difficult to find another way to develop its parcel. "We will dictate what will happen there," he said.
IKEA, the Swedish furniture company, is still going through an internal process of deciding whether or not to build a store in Somerville's Assembly Square, according to Joseph Curtatone, mayor of Somerville.
Speaking on The Mayor's Report—guest-hosted by the editor of Somerville Patch—Curtatone said, "IKEA North America representatives would like to get going right now, but this will be a decision that comes right out of Sweden."
"We want them here. If they come, that would be great. If they don't, well, we'll move forward," the mayor said.
IKEA has been eyeing Assembly Square for over a decade. It first bought land in Assembly Square in the late 1990s, but a lawsuit with the Mystic View Task Force, a land-swap deal with Federal Realty Investment Trust, the major developers of Assembly Square, and, more recently, the economic downturn all prevented IKEA from breaking ground.
Last summer, the Somerville Planning Board granted IKEA a one-year extension on its permits to build in Assembly Square. Now that it's spring, the deadline on those extensions are fast approaching.
In January, an IKEA official acknowledged the store hadn't made a decision one way or the other about its Somerville plans.
On The Mayor's Report, Curtatone said, "If IKEA comes back and says, 'We're ready to go,' we'll applaud them. If they say, 'The world economy had changed [and] we don't see this as a two-store market in Massachusetts any longer,' well, we've created a lot of value in Assembly Square … we've created value for every land owner there, and we're absolutely positive and firm that, if it's not IKEA, we'll be able to develop that ten acres and be very successful at doing it."
IKEA already has a store in Stoughton.
"If IKEA is not going to move forward, then my comments to them last year was we expect you to work with us in what happens to that parcel," Curtatone said, "because Somerville, the city of Somerville, will not sit on its hands. We will dictate what will happen there, and we'll be firm in that position."