OAK CREEK -- It's official -- IKEA is coming to Oak Creek. Officials with the Swedish furniture store have confirmed they have plans to build a store in the Milwaukee-area. It is slated to open in summer 2018 -- with construction beginning in spring 2017.
The new store will be located on a large stretch of land along I-94 and Drexel Avenue.
It's not just bedroom sets and kitchenware that Wisconsinites can look forward to. IKEA representatives say the new store will bring 250 full-time jobs.
"There's hitting an economic development home run, and then there's hitting an economic home run grand slam to win a World Series -- that's what this is," said Oak Creek Mayor Steve Scaffidi.
Thursday, May 5th was a big day for many, including Mayor Scaffidi -- as the IKEA announcement was made.
"They did tell us one of the reasons they loved Oak Creek was how we respond to things and how we approach things. Innovation, technology, communication," said Scaffidi.
IKEA officials said they had been looking for a good place to set up shop in the Milwaukee area for awhile.
"We seek locations that are very visible, with great access to a highway and we think we found just that," said an IKEA spokesperson.
The new IKEA store is expected to be a single-level store with approximately 295,000 square feet of shopping space. The store will include about 1,200 parking spots.
"IKEA brings not only 250 full-time employees that are probably going to live and eat and play in this area and go do all the things that are exciting to do in our area, but the fact that you add another 500 construction jobs to this project which takes over a year to do is just part of a big puzzle of economic development we've been working on for awhile," said Scaffidi.
The store will also include a 300-seat cafeteria-style restaurant -- and yes, the famous Swedish meatballs will be a featured item.
Below is the official statement from IKEA officials:
IKEA, the world's largest home furnishings retailer, announced it is submitting plans to the City of Oak Creek, Wisconsin for a store that would increase the Swedish company's presence in the Midwestern U.S. as its first store in the state. Pending approvals, construction of IKEA in Oak Creek could begin in spring 2017, with an opening in summer 2018. Nearby IKEA stores are Chicago-area IKEA Bolingbrook and IKEA Schaumburg, and Twin Cities-area IKEA Bloomington, MN.
Located approximately 12 miles south of downtown Milwaukee, the 295,000-square-foot proposed IKEA store and its approximately 1,200 parking spaces would be built on 29 acres at the northwestern corner of Interstate 94 and Drexel Avenue. Store plans reflect the same unique architectural design for which IKEA stores are known worldwide. IKEA will evaluate potential on-site power generation to complement its current U.S. renewable energy presence at nearly 90% of its U.S. locations.
"We are excited at the possibility of growing our Midwestern U.S. presence with a Milwaukee-area store," said IKEA U.S. President Lars Petersson. "A location in this retail corridor would provide our already 206,000 Milwaukee-area customers their own store and introduce the unique IKEA shopping experience to others throughout Wisconsin."
IKEA Oak Creek would feature nearly 10,000 exclusively designed items, 50 inspirational room-settings, three model home interiors, a supervised children's play area, and a 300-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, play areas throughout the store, and preferring parking. In addition to the more than 500 jobs that are expected during the construction phase, approximately 250 coworkers would join the IKEA family when the new store opens. IKEA Oak Creek would provide significant annual sales and property tax revenue for local governments and schools.
Drawing from its Swedish heritage and respect of nature, IKEA strives to minimize its operations' carbon emissions because reducing its environmental impact makes good business sense. IKEA evaluates locations regularly for conservation opportunities, integrates innovative materials into provide design, works to maintain sustainable resources, and flat-packs goods for efficient distribution. U.S. sustainable efforts include: recycling waste material; incorporating key measures into buildings with energy-efficient HVAC and lighting systems, recycled construction materials, warehouse skylights and water-conserving restrooms; and operationally, eliminating plastic bags from the check-out process, and selling only LED bulbs/fixtures. IKEA U.S. has installed electric vehicle charging stations at 13 locations and solar arrays at 90% of its locations, and owns two wind farms in the U.S.
Since its 1943 founding in Sweden, IKEA has offered home furnishings of good design and function at affordable prices.
There are currently 380 IKEA stores in 48 countries, including 41 in the U.S.
Tom Zale, Vice President Northwestern Mutual Real Estate issued the following statement:
"Northwestern Mutual is one of the largest real estate investors in the United States with more than $41 billion in investments. Real estate is an essential component of our investment portfolio as it increases potential returns and adds meaningfully to the company's diverse mix of assets. We own land near our Franklin campus, and our goal has been to control development of the property in support of the long-range vision of the Oak Creek and Franklin communities.
"When IKEA approached us in 2015, we say the company as a good fit for the vision of these communities. It's also an organization that shares many of our company's values. We have no specific plans for the remaining acreage, but the IKEA brand name is attractive to businesses, such as restaurants or other retailers, that want to be located nearby. We are excited by this development and look forward to discussions with interested parties that see that location's potential."
The closest IKEA stores right now are in Bolingbrook and Schaumburg, IL; St. Louis, MO; and Bloomington, MN.