Customers work their way through a winding line to enter the new IKEA store for its grand opening, Wednesday, May 23, 2007, in South Jordan, UT. (AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac)
MERRIAM, KS (KCTV) -
An empty shopping center in the metro is set to be home to one of the most popular stores in the world, IKEA.
The 349,000-square-foot proposed IKEA store would be built along the eastern side of Interstate 35 at Johnson Drive exit on 18 acres to be purchased from DDR Corp.
One level of parking below the store, a two-level parking structure, and spaces accessible at-grade would provide more than 1,200 parking spaces on-site. Store plans reflect the same unique architectural design for which IKEA stores are known worldwide.
IKEA also will evaluate potential on-site power generation to complement its current U.S. renewable energy presence at 89 percent of its U.S. locations.
The Swedish company anticipates opening the store in the fall of 2014. The company said it would be the first IKEA store in Kansas and would increase the Swedish retailer's presence in the Midwest.
"We look forward to growing our Midwestern U.S. presence with IKEA Merriam," said IKEA U.S. president Mike Ward. "This store would bring the already 60,000 Kansas City-area customers a store of their own and would introduce other consumers in Kansas, Missouri and beyond to the unique IKEA product selection and family-friendly shopping experience."
There are currently more than 330 stores in 40 countries, and the closest stores are in Texas, Colorado, Minnesota and Chicago. There are 38 IKEA stores in the United States.
The Merriam location would feature about 10,000 exclusively designed items, 50 inspirational room-settings, three model home interiors, a supervised children's play area, and a 450-seat restaurant serving Swedish specialties such as meatballs with lingonberries and salmon plates, as well as American dishes.
Other family-friendly features include a 'Children's IKEA' area in the Showroom, baby care rooms, preferred parking and play areas throughout the store.
In addition to the more than 500 jobs that are expected to be created during the construction phase, about 350 people would be employed when the new store opens.
The store would also provide a significant annual sales and property tax revenue for local governments and schools.
The company plans to demolish the vacant shopping center currently in the location and rebuild a new store.
Merriam Mayor Ken Sissom said they were surprised when IKEA contacted them. The shipping center currently at the location was built in 2008 with Circuit City as a main anchor, but they went bankrupt when the recession hit.
"(IKEA) is the kind of place that people will get in their car and drive for hours to get to. And they will stay in our hotels, and they will eat in our restaurants. So the fact that IKEA comes here is very instrumental in the success not only in our city but the businesses around here," Sissom said. "The entire metropolitan area will benefit from the fact that IKEA is relocating here."
The location has been vacant ever since. The company plans to demolish the vacant shopping center currently in the location and rebuild a new store.
Sissom said it is exciting because IKEA is more than a retail store but a destination location and they are thrilled about new jobs.
Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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