ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Swedish furniture giant IKEA, long rumored to be considering a St. Louis store, announced Wednesday morning that it is opening its first Missouri location in the Central West End.
At a 10:30 a.m. news conference St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay announced plans to build a store at Forest Park and Vandaventer in the CORTEX research district.
The St. Louis IKEA is set to open in the fall of 2015.
CORTEX President and CEO Dennis Lower told reporters at the announcement that getting the deal done was an “unbelievably complex process”, in part because they had to deal with nine different landowners, some with corporations that don’t exist anymore.
But the headaches were worth the reward.
“There’s a certain energy in this area,” said Reed Lyons, the real estate manager for the Ikea St. Louis project.
He said the CORTEX research district was really why they choose to build a 380,000 square-feet store in St. Louis, citing “location, sustainability, and the partnership with a terrific innovation district.”
“You can feel the topical change in the CORTEX District,” Lyons added.
KMOX’s Brian Kelly was at the news conference and tweeted a photo of the layout of the new IKEA store.
Mayor Slay said the announcement is the latest in a string of positive economic announcements in St. Louis.
“The city and its partners have been working very hard and long with a number of retailers, Whole Foods being one and Lululemon being another. There’s another one that’s going to be making an announcement this week, we’re very excited about it,” Slay said, referring to the IKEA announcement.
“It’s certainly going to be something very exciting and something that will be very good for St. Louis and will really put that area even more so on the map in terms of a destination,” Slay said.
Across the street from IKEA, at Forest Park Parkway and Vandeventer Avenue, Pace Properties is working on a shopping center that could include stores similar to Target and Trader Joe’s.
Central West End residents heard Tuesday night about plans for a new 12-story luxury residential tower at Euclid Avenue and Lindell Boulevard. Groundbreaking began Tuesday on another residential tower in the West End, this one with a Whole Foods Market on the ground floor.