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Issue: 1242 Date: 6/12/2014
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It's official: Ikea buys 21 acres for St. Louis store

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An architectural rendering of St. Louis' Ikea at Forest Park and Vandeventer avenues.
        Ikea has purchased 21 acres at the southwest corner of Forest Park Parkway and Vandeventer Avenue from SLLC Real Estate, or Cortex, in a deal that closed in mid-May.

        "We have secured the land and relevant easements to build and operate our future Ikea store," Ikea spokesman Joseph Roth told the Business Journal.

        Ikea paid $30 million for the land.

        Local contractor S.M. Wilson is starting work on the site - closing off Duncan Avenue and relocating a sewer pipe, Roth said. It will soon begin demolition of the existing building there, and Ikea is planning a groundbreaking for later this month. The planned 380,000-square-foot store will cost $50 million to build, in addition to the $30 million land investment.

        Cortex cobbled together 20 to 25 parcels of land with nine owners for the site. The final piece of the puzzle fell into place when Laclede Gas agreed to sell a key nine acres in the center of the site.

        "Each of these parcels had its own timeline," CORTEX President and CEO Dennis Lower said. "Some of these we got on contract immediately, some during the middle of the process and some at the end of the process."

        Pace Properties, Ikea's brokers in St. Louis, spent nearly 10 years looking for the perfect site for the Swedish retailer to build on. Rick Randall and Joe Ciapciak, both of Pace, looked at two dozen sites and showed several of them to Ikea representatives.

        The retailer traditionally does not build in urban sites, but it chose this one due to the highway visibility and accessibility, the centrality in the region, and the available land, according to Roth.

        The company expects the St. Louis store to be a "super regional draw," according to Reed Lyons, the Ikea real estate manager who spearheaded the St. Louis deal.

        In December, Ikea announced plans for the store, which is slated to open in fall 2015. The store is expected to generate $250 million in tax money for the city and state over the next 20 years.


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