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Hallelujah...

IKEA opens in the Boston area -- Stoughton, to be exact -- on Nov. 9th.

About freakin' time.

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( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
eclecticavatar
Nov. 4th, 2005 02:07 pm (UTC)
Why do they open them is such weird locations? Every "city" that has an IKEA is just a backwater somewhere...
elishavah
Nov. 4th, 2005 02:12 pm (UTC)
Seriously. Not the South Shore Mall, or the Burlington Mall, or the Natick Mall, not even Framingham. Stoughton? The IKEA is going to be bigger than the damn town. What's the next stop, Hull?
eregyrn
Nov. 4th, 2005 02:28 pm (UTC)
I've been following this story practically since I moved to Boston in 1991. Originally IKEA wanted to go into the Assembly Square mall in Somerville, just east of 93 (near the Schrafts building). They were quite serious about it. The "neighborhood" raised an enormous legal stink to block it -- I think the main sticking point was whether the site had sufficient parking, and the increase in traffic it would cause in an already congested area, or something like that. Only comparatively recently did IKEA abandon the legal battles intended to get them in there (which would have been a nice, central urban location, you have to admit), and switch their focus to Stoughton.

The way I've heard it, it's a bunch of issues -- the need for sufficient land to create a warehouse store of a sufficient-sized footprint (IKEAs are huge); enough land to provide enough parking; and a location where the threat of traffic congestion doesn't cause the local civic groups to have hives. I guess if you add that to the *ridiculous* price of real estate in the greater Boston area... that's how you wind up with Stoughton.

Even though they do keep squeezing new construction in, I think that Burlington and Natick and Braintree are all just too built-up to provide all that, or something. I guess for stuff as big as this, you've got to go that much farther outside of 128.

Me, I'm just glad that they didn't have to go as far outside it as they did to create the Wrentham Village Outlet Mall.

As it is -- Stoughton sucks mostly because I don't think there's any good public transport to it. But, *shrug* I'll take it, because it's within that half-hour-drive range.
elishavah
Nov. 4th, 2005 02:59 pm (UTC)
Huh. I guess growing up in Boston I'd never even heard of IKEA until I moved down here to DC, so I wasn't paying attention. Same thing with Target. Whazzat?

They must have started looking at Stoughton after 1997, because I would've heard about it while I was at the Ledger. And yeah, Stoughton's not exactly a breeze to get to. (Of course, growing up in Boston, I considered anything farther than Chestnut Hill to be a long way away. *g*)
eregyrn
Nov. 8th, 2005 08:02 am (UTC)
Ah; I grew up in the Philly area, where there was an IKEA (also located way out to hell and gone, in King of Prussia; but that sort of made sense, because the King of Prussia Mall was, at that time, one of the largest in the US, or something). IKEA was fairly key when I was in college in that area, and immediately after college.

(Indeed, that's IKEA's problem -- the perception that it's "college kid" furniture. Back then it probably was a bit more than it is now, as they've made a conscious effort to upgrade their image. Back then, it was definitely the "furnish your dorm room, and/or the cheap furniture you buy to put in your first apt. until you can afford the real stuff". Now I think they are shooting more for, "the furniture of young urban professionals who want that sleek Swedish look, and who want to save some dough".)

So when we moved up here right after college, and we were a poor graduate-student household, we looked around and were like, "But where's the IKEA? We need cheap but sturdy bookshelves! What do you *MEAN* the closest IKEA is in Elizabeth, NJ?????? That cannot *BE*. Isn't this supposed to be the college town to end all college towns? etc."

Yeah, I can believe that they didn't switch to the Stoughton plan until after '97. I think it was in, like, '99 or '01 or something. Certainly, the Stoughton location matches the other sorts of on-the-fringe places they tend to locate (i.e. Elizabeth, NJ????). Though I know that raqs has an IKEA not far from her on L.I., which we went to and I found that it was much more shoved-into a more central, built-up retail area than I was used to. But then, it's still in Nassau County, which means that everyone in actual NYC would still consider that the boonies.
eregyrn
Nov. 4th, 2005 02:30 pm (UTC)
(Sorry, have just remembered that there was also an environmental-impact component to the suit blocking the development of the Assembly Square site. I think, something to do either with wetlands, or drainage into the nearby Mystic, or both.)
eregyrn
Nov. 4th, 2005 02:20 pm (UTC)
The answer basically boils down to: in order to open a store, they need to find a location with a sufficient amount of square-footage for their warehouse-style store (their square footage, AFAIK, is much, much bigger than that of warehouse stores like Costco), PLUS sufficient parking, PLUS in a location that is deemed adequate to handle the scary predictions of increased traffic flow.

It ain't easy, actually. Especially in an urban locale like Boston, where real estate is so expensive.

See my reply to Elishavah below for more details...
raqs
Nov. 4th, 2005 07:11 pm (UTC)
truly. way past time, really.
did i mention that i have one?
and a whole foods just opened up up the street from the ikea.
huzzah.
eregyrn
Nov. 8th, 2005 08:20 am (UTC)
*sticks tongue out at you*

Though I am pleased for you that you have a convenient Whole Foods now.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )