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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 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.

Joe Lynch January 06, 2012 at 07:06 PM
Since I've got myself into hot water with most of the power elite in the city for my rant against Congressman Capuano's "new" stance on the greenline(let them have diesel), I'll have to repeat what I stated not too long ago on an episode of Greater Somerville(shameless plug). Paying the permit fees and taxes on the Somerville property for an entity like the billion dollar IKEA is a drop in the bucket to them. They'll hold onto the land, pay their taxes and extension fees and if a more desireable plot of land pops up, they'll sell the Somerville property in a heartbeat. Contractural obligations will not stand in their way either. Money talks and it always will. In short, don't hold your breath for a plate full of Sweedish meatballs.
Joe Lynch January 06, 2012 at 07:09 PM
Duh - Swedish. Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.
Chris Orchard January 06, 2012 at 08:19 PM
Those meatballs are good, though! For those who are curious, Joe Lynch talked briefly about IKEA with Alderman Dennis Sullivan on "Greater Somerville" in September. The discussion starts at around 9:38 into the show. http://greatersomerville.wordpress.com/2011/09/28/dennis-sullivan-alderman-at-large-9-27-11/
Sara Jacobi January 06, 2012 at 09:05 PM
I still REALLY want this to happen! I hate driving all the way to Stoughton to go to IKEA. A Somerville store seems like it would be a worthwhile decision for IKEA based on its proximity to Boston, and it would attract lots of people from all over the North Shore and maybe even New Hampshire. C'mon IKEA!
kevin thomas crowley January 09, 2012 at 03:38 PM
joe, wouldn't you feel uncomfortable in anything but hot water? you are absolutely right about ikea. maybe we should give them 26,000,00.00 dollars to lend a helping hand. they are qualified, after all they are billionaires.

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