Michael Calhoun (@michaelcalhoun, mrcalhoun@cbs.com)By Michael Calhoun

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Swedish furniture retailer IKEA is keen on the St. Louis area, but the company is apparently far from committing to a new store in the region.

A city-wide frenzy was sparked by a post on NextSTL.com Sunday, claiming that a 300,000 square foot store will “allegedly” be built on Forest Park Ave. between Sarah St. and Vandeventer Ave.

In response, IKEA spokesman Joseph Roth told KMOX News on Monday: “At this time we have not committed to a time frame for entering the St. Louis market, let alone for a specific site.”

PHOTO GALLERY: People Line Up For IKEA Opening >>

The site does seem to mesh with the traditional requirements for an IKEA location, which include both easy highway access and outstanding highway visibility, as well as room for a 300 to 400,000 square foot store and structured parking.

Insanely popular among college students, the supposed location would put this store smack-dab between Saint Louis University and Washington University. It would also put people carrying the flat-packed furniture boxes within walking distance of MetroLink.

NextSTL.com also claimed that the development would include infrastructure improvements, an important note since the stores are literal tourist attractions.

“Sources further allege that the location of the store has been a closely guarded secret and despite not receiving confirmation remain confident that this is the area Ikea and Pace are working on developing.”

“Assuming all possible taxes are incurred, the St. Louis store could bring more than $6M in tax revenue to the city. In Kansas City the 22-acre Ikea development is expecting sales of more than $80 million per year.”

“We remain evaluating opportunities as they come up,” spokesman Roth said. “It’s both flattering and humbling to have all this attention.”

But keep in mind, Roth said much the same about prospects for a Kansas City store — right up until the news conference.

It’s widely believed that IKEA was courted by Pace Properties for a development at Hanley Rd. and I-64 in Richmond Heights, but that fell apart last year due to homeowner opposition.

KMOX © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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