Nov. 16--Swedish home furnishings giant Ikea, which has been scouting the Wasatch Front for its first Utah location, appears to have found a site for a new store in Draper near the intersection of Interstate 15 and Bangerter Highway.
The commercial real estate industry is abuzz with news that the company, the world's largest home furnishings retailer with more than $18 billion in sales a year, is purchasing nearly 40 acres of prime commercial property with freeway visibility at approximately 13350 S. Pony Express. In fact, those with knowledge of the deal say the transaction could close within weeks, which would pave the way for a new store within a couple of years.
Commercial brokers say a new Ikea store would raise the state's profile among retailers nationally, perhaps even attracting other retailers that don't yet operate here.
"Having Ikea open a store in Utah would be a pretty big deal," said Chris Gentzkow, retail specialist with CB Richard Ellis in Salt Lake City.
Gentzkow said Ikea stores typically contain 200,000 to 300,000 square feet of space.
Typically, most big-box retailers such as Wal-Mart, Home Depot and Costco have stores in the range of 150,000 to 200,000 square feet of space, said Tom Cook, retail/land specialist of Commerce CRG in Salt Lake City. "Ikea would certainly be one of the largest retail stores in the Valley."
For their part, Ikea officials aren't talking. "We're not in a position to announce anything yet," said Doug Greenholz, Ikea's real estate manager.
Neither is Rob Dahle, who owns the property in Draper with two brothers and two cousins. "We have no comment," he said.
Greenholz of Ikea did acknowledge that Utah has attractive demographics -- a fast-growing and young population -- for a new store.
Ikea, known for its inexpensive yet stylish array of merchandise, carries a range of home furnishings and other products for the home, including tableware and linens. The name Ikea comes from founder Ingvar Kamprad's initials and the first letters of Elmtaryd and Agunnaryd, the farm and village where he grew up.
Grand openings of Ikea stores are major events. In other cities, shoppers have camped out -- some for days -- to be first in line for gift cards that are handed out. Hundreds -- even thousands -- have waited in lines for the opportunity to be among the first inside new stores.