Updated at end of article with response from IKEA.
"The old Chrysler plant location in Fenton, Mo., is perfect for an IKEA!"
So proclaims the Facebook site "IKEA to St. Louis! (on old Chrysler Plant property in Fenton)" that has garnered more than 12,500 "likes" online. But is it true? Is the shuttered Chrysler plant on I-44 perfect for IKEA?
We're not so sure.
In August 2010, the last time an IKEA rumor was floating around St. Louis (a new one seems to pop up every other year), we contacted Joseph Roth, a spokesman for the Swedish furniture mega-store.
Roth told us then that the company had no current plans to enter the St. Louis market. He also informed us that should an IKEA come to town, it would need a lot of space -- 30 acres -- and would "build from the ground up."
Roth could not be reached immediately for comment this time around, but Daily RFT's crack research suggests that the Chrysler plant has too much space for IKEA.
Observe: Below is a satellite image of the Chrysler property at a scale of +/- 13/16" = 2,000 ft.
And here is a satellite image of Chicago's IKEA at the same scale.
The same Chicago IKEA at a closer range:
According to sales info, the Chrysler plant actually occupies 295 acres -- or ten times IKEA's needs.
Perhaps this dilemma could be resolved by a simple tweak to the Facebook campaign? Call it: "IKEAS to St. Louis!"
Update: Daily RFT got in touch with Roth this morning. "We currently do not have a time frame for opening a store in the St. Louis area," he says.
But he does offer a glimmer of hope.
IKEA requires that a region have a population of more than two million people. "St. Louis certainly fits that criteria, and there are fewer large cities without an IKEA," he says. "We are constantly evaluating opportunities."
He adds that the social-media campaign to bring IKEA to the Chrysler plant is "unique" as similar petitions from other cities don't tend to focus on a specific site. He also agrees that the Chrysler site is probably too big for IKEA.
"We occasionally buy a tract of land bigger than what we need," he says. "But 295 acres? That's big."