The Swedish-based IKEA announced Tuesday it has hired contractors and has a work permit pending for its 415,000-square-foot Denver-area location.
The progress paves the way for a grand opening in the fall of 2011, according to IKEA. They say the store will provide jobs to 400 workers once it opens.
Andy Sherbo, a finance lecturer at the University of Denver's Daniels College of Business, says to expect huge crowds for opening day.
"It's going to be a zoo. There's going to be traffic jams," Sherbo said. "They'll be lined up, believe me."
Company officials say they have hired Centennial-based Saunders Construction to manage the construction of the new retail location, located on a 13.5-acre lot on the west side of Interstate 25, near Park Meadows and accessible from Dry Creek Road and County Line Road.
"With our land purchased, team selected and site-work permit pending, we now can schedule IKEA Centennial to open fall 2011," Doug Greenholz, IKEA real estate director, stated in a news release on Tuesday. "Construction crews soon will begin clearing and grading the site, and we look forward to breaking ground officially in a couple of months."
Shopper Patricia Devine says IKEA will be a good option for those who are just starting out.
"I really think it's a good place to go if you have college students and buy them things for school. You know, for people who are setting up an apartment for the first time, and I think the prices are good too," Devine said.
IKEA says there are a handful of other Colorado companies that will be involved in the project. CLC Associates will do civil design, Kimley Horn Associates will do traffic consulting, Ground Engineering will provide an environmental analysis and geotechnical services, Otten Johnson Robinson Neff & Ragonetti will serve as IKEA's local counsel, Legend Retal Group is assisting in the site selection process, Geothermal Systems of Colorado is designing a geothermal component and finally Miller Global is selling IKEA the plot of land.
Store officials say the retail location will have the same architecture IKEA is known for across the globe, but the Centennial location will be the first in the country to incorporate a geothermal component for its heating and cooling system.
The Centennial store, which will have 1,500 parking spots, is expected to have 50 different room settings, three complete model home interiors and will feature 10,000 "exclusively-designed" items. Additionally, IKEA will have a supervised children's play area and a 500-seat restaurant serving Swedish specialties, like meatballs with lingonberries, salmon plates, and some American dishes as well.
The new IKEA store will be close to The Great Indoors, a direct competitor.
"Retail is a competitive business we all work in close proximity with each other. People who shop our stores do so for the great brands that we offer, such as Kenmore. We would hope they'd continue to do so even with IKEA," said Kim Freely, a spokesperson for Sears Holdings, which owns The Great Indoors.
"I think it's good for consumers to offer more selection and IKEA is a player in the market," Sherbo said. "They're going to be big. They're a player and their philosophy is really simple. In retail business, those big boxers - a guy who worked for Sam Walton a long time ago said, 'Stack 'em deep and sell them cheap.' That's kind of where they're coming from. It's a good marketing tool. Good for Walmart and it's probably going to be good for IKEA."
Sherbo says not only will the new IKEA store bring in more tax revenue, it may drive down prices at other stores.
"Their competitors are going to be worried, but they got to step up to the plate. That's the business of competition," he said. "If you can't find what you want in IKEA, these other stores aren't that far away and there'll be some price competition going on almost automatically. They have to."
IKEA, founded in 1943, has more than 300 stores in 38 countries.
For more information about employment with IKEA, click here: http://www.ikea.com/ms/en_US/jobs/join_us/index.html
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