IKEA Still Undecided About Somerville Store
The proposed store is waiting for final approval from corporate headquarters to move forward.
IKEA still hasn't made up its mind about building a store in Somerville's Assembly Square, and there's no indication about when the global furniture chain will make that decision, according to an IKEA official.
Doug Greenholz, vice president of real estate for IKEA's U.S. operations, told Somerville Patch this week during a brief phone conversation that "we don't have any timing yet."
IKEA, a Swedish furniture company known for its assemble-it-at-home modern designs, has been interested in building a store in Assembly Square since the late 1990s, when it bought land in the area, but it has not yet committed.
Greenholz was in Somerville in July to secure a one-year extension on planning board permits that would allow the company to move forward with the store. The previous permits were set to expire.
At the time, he explained that the proposed Somerville store is in competition, at IKEA headquarters, with other proposals for IKEA stores around the world. "We compete internally for capital on a global basis," he said then.
Speaking this week, Greenholz said IKEA is still in the process of making a decision about the Somerville store. "We're trying to expedite that process," he said, acknowledging that "everybody's eager" to know the timeline for making a decision.
He said IKEA has not pulled building permits yet, but is poised to do so if the store gets the green light from corporate headquarters. "The building permit … is virtually ready to be pulled," he said.
Recently, IKEA gave $100,000 to the city to help fund a workforce program for residents; it also contributed six computer kiosks for workforce training. A memorandum about the donations, submitted to the Somerville Board of Aldermen by they city's planning office, says, "IKEA has expressed an interest in reaffirming their commitment to the development of a Somerville IKEA store in Assembly Square" and is making the $100,000 contribution "in good faith."
The recently extended planning board permits expire at the end of this summer, so IKEA has at least until then make a decision.
Greenholz said the Somerville IKEA store would take about 2 years to complete once construction begins.